An American flag that was flown over the World Trade Center ruins during the 9/11 cleanup and was later given to the sister of a fallen firefighter was stolen from her front yard on Long Island.
Melissa Brengel said the flag was still in the front yard when she returned to her Huntington Station home at about 10:30 p.m. Monday night. When her husband left for work at about 5:15 a.m. Tuesday, it was gone.
The flag is particularly special to Brengel and was given to her by the September 11th Families Association.
"We put it out during certain times of the year just to remember," she said.
"I don't think there's a way [the thief] could have known, but at the same time, they're coming onto my property and taking something that means so much to me and so many Americans," said Brengel.
Brengel's brother Jonathan Ielpi was a 29-year-old FDNY firefighter working out of Squad 288 in Queens when he died on Sept. 11.
Her other brother is also in the FDNY, and her father is retired from the department, now running a tribute center in New York City.
"It hurts me and all of them that somebody could do something like this," she said.
Brengel's home is at the end of a dead-end street, and while her neighbors also have American flags hanging, "for whatever reason, they took ours."
She is hoping whoever took the flag somehow hears of its significance and returns it.