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Vietnam veteran says man burned neighborhood's American flags

Posted: 10:14 PM, Jul 16, 2018
Updated: 2018-07-17 11:00:23Z

BONITA SPRINGS, Fla. -- One Vietnam veteran woke up to a man burning the neighborhood's American flags in a gas grill. According to deputies, Joel Teltow had just been released from Salus Care before being arrested for the act. 

"It just meant something very special, regarding our country," said David Kaczmarek, the Vietnam veteran who says he immediately called Lee County Deputies after waking up to red flames outside his window. 

According to LCSO, Teltow was burning flags he had collected throughout the Bonita Springs neighborhood in a gas grill behind his mother's home. 

The police report indicates Teltow's mother telling police he was released from a rehab facility and "should not be roaming the streets." 

For Kaczmarek's wife, Linda, an England native now U.S. citizen, she tells Fox 4 it broke her heart not being able to protect the flag. 

“We looked over into this driveway and there were flames burning up," said Mrs. Kaczmarek.  “It’s America…. This is our country, you don’t burn the flags.”

Mrs. Kaczmarek says although it's a difficult situation, she hopes it brings awareness to mental health issues. 

“It’s not his fault, it’s the demons he lives with in his mind.”

Teltow was arrested on scene and charged with first degree arson with occupied dwelling.