A judge on Monday found a retired Navy veteran guilty of charges including intentional damage to a monument after he admitted he stole a neighbor's flag because he was upset with its appearance at night.
John Parmele Jr. had complained that his Virginia Beach, Va. neighbor, Michael Anderson, was leaving the flag attached to a mailbox after sunset without installing a light.
"Traditional guidelines call for displaying the flag in public only from sunrise to sunset. However, the flag may be displayed at all times if it’s illuminated during darkness," Parmele said.
Anderson said Parmele wrongly took matters into his own hands, personally stealing flags off the mailbox. He showed photo and video evidence in court. Four other neighbors appeared in court to support Anderson, The Virginian-Pilot reported.
"Even if what you say is correct, it does not give you the right to trespass," District Court Judge Teresa Hammons told Parmele.
The judge also found him guilty of petty larceny and trespassing. She fined Parmele $300 and ordered him to repay his neighbor nearly $100 for the stolen flags and stay off his property.