USS Reno WWII flag stolen from city hall during Nevada protest returned: 'Needed protecting'

An anonymous person returned an American flag from a World War II battleship that was stolen from the Reno City Hall in Nevada during protests seeking justice for George Floyd, according to a local news station on Tuesday.

Although the majority of protests were peaceful, a small group of demonstrators proceeded to deface the old police headquarters and loot downtown businesses. Some people were also burning an American flag, authorities said.

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This photo provided by KRNV journalist Kenzie Margiott shows a note addressed to Margiott and a flag from a World War II battleship after it was anonymously returned. (Kenzie Margiott via AP)

This photo provided by KRNV journalist Kenzie Margiott shows a note addressed to Margiott and a flag from a World War II battleship after it was anonymously returned. (Kenzie Margiott via AP)

City officials discovered the glass display that housed the artifact from the USS Reno had been smashed and the flag – which had been donated to the city nearly 75 years ago – was gone following Saturday night's riots.

“It’s an incredible gut punch to take,” city spokesman Jon Humbert said.

Three days later, KRNV reported, the flag was inside a package anonymously delivered to the TV station and addressed to journalist Kenzie Margiott with a note in Sharpie that read: “Needed protecting. Looters were flag burning. R.I.P George Floyd.”

The tattered flag had a manila tag labeled, “85-55-A USS Reno CL-96."

The flag was packaged and sent to addressed to KRNV journalist Kenzie Margiott in Reno, Nev., Tuesday, June 2, 2020. (Kenzie Margiott via AP)

The flag was packaged and sent to addressed to KRNV journalist Kenzie Margiott in Reno, Nev., Tuesday, June 2, 2020. (Kenzie Margiott via AP)

Margiott said she called the city immediately and the vice mayor arrived within the hour with tears in his eyes.

“I’m really happy and thankful they sent it to you and that we can return it to the city and the citizens of Reno,” Vice Mayor Devon Reese said.

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The men of the USS Reno were credited with shooting down five enemy airplanes and assisted in the downing of at least two more at Iwo Jima.

Two sailors from Reno served on the USS Reno: Lt. Henry L. Clayton and Yeoman Second Class Glen A. Spoon. The battleship was inactivated on June 1, 1946, and scrapped three years later.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.