Five discarded flagpoles, property of the Oak Bay Rotary Club and used for Canadian flags through its charitable rental program, lay in the gutter at McNeill Bay. (Photo courtesy Joan Peggs)

Five discarded flagpoles, property of the Oak Bay Rotary Club and used for Canadian flags through its charitable rental program, lay in the gutter at McNeill Bay. (Photo courtesy Joan Peggs)

Oak Bay homes targeted for Canadian flag thefts ahead of July 1

Oak Bay Rotary Club flag program chair says about 50 of its flags, some poles, removed from lawns

There are plenty of theories about what is motivating thieves to steal dozens of rented Canadian flags from Oak Bay homeowners’ lawns, but the Oak Bay Rotary Club just wants to see them returned.

Joan Peggs is chair of the club’s flag program, which sees subscribers pay a nominal donation for the use of a large flag on a staked flagpole during three national holiday times – Victoria Day, Canada Day and Labour Day.

The program has roughly 600 subscribers around Greater Victoria, but Peggs said all of the estimated 50 or so flags were removed from their locations on private property are in Oak Bay.

“It’s very discouraging for all of us, it’s just money that we have to put back into the program,” she said.

A bent flagpole on Newport Avenue sits without its Canadian flag, after thieves stole the banner, rented out as part of a charitable program by the Oak Bay Rotary Club, sometime on the evening of June 29. (Photo courtesy of Joan Peggs)

While the subject of Rotary flags going missing – whether torn or cut from the poles or swiped, pole and all – is not a new occurrence, Peggs said the club just doesn’t have the stock on hand this time to honour its usual policy of replacing missing banners for its subscribers.

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“The silver lining is the poles and the stakes, which are the more costly part, are still there for many of them, but the flags are gone,” she said, noting the flags cost the club $25 each. However, five poles without flags were found lying in the gutter at McNeill Bay.

In an email sent out Wednesday to subscribers, those in areas where the flag and pole are easily accessible are encouraged to take it in for the evening and for July 1.

Among the most targeted areas were Newport, Dewdney, Estevan and Cavendish avenues.

Many of those whose flags were stolen called police directly.

Oak Bay Police tweeted Wednesday that officers are investigating reports of 14 Canadian flags stolen from 12 Oak Bay properties on June 29. Police have no suspects at this time.

“This is definitely a deviation over past years,” said Deputy Chief Mark Fisher of the volume of thefts. He declined to speculate on the motive for the thefts, but did note that the marking of Canada Day this year has had controversy surrounding it.

Police are asking anyone whose flag may have gone missing who may have video surveillance footage from overnight June 29-30 to call the department at 250-592-2424.

If anyone locates any of the removed flags – or wishes to return them – Peggs can be reached via email at joan_peggs@telus.net or called at 250-598-1716.

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– with files from Jake Rompfh


 

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Canada DayOak Bay Police DepartmentRotarytheft