Patriotic Florida Man's Van Recovered

After taking to the airwaves to ask for help in finding his stolen van, a man who makes his living replacing worn out American flags, has his van back.

The abandoned vehicle was discovered in the parking lot of the Red White & Blue Thrift Store, located at 12640 NE Sixth Ave., Monday afternoon. A security guard called Crime Stoppers to alert them of his find.

Andrew Chiotis, also known as "The Flagman," owns the van. He makes a living selling American flags. Monday afternoon, he made a public plea for help in finding his missing work van. "That's how we make our living. We go around putting up American flags," Chiotis said.

Chiotis, who has been selling American flags out of his truck for 22 years, discovered his vehicle stolen from his home at around 5 a.m., Monday morning. "I came out to go into the van to get some paperwork because I was going to do some bids, you know, for some flag work, and the van was gone. I called the police. I made a report, and that was it," said Chiotis.

Chiotis said he had thousands of dollars worth of tools, flags and supplies in his van, and whoever took the van stole many things inside the van. "The radio's gone, the amp's gone, both the brand new ladders are gone...various tools. It looks like some of the larger flags, the big flags that I had up on the top shelf, they're gone," said Chiotis.

Despite the fact that things were stolen from his vehicle, Chiotis was thankful to 7News for helping him locate his van. "Two hours later, somebody called in, because they seen it on Channel 7, and there was the flag van," he said.

The single father had some final words to say to those responsible for robbing his van. "You should be ashamed of yourself. This is America," Chiotis said.

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