The Beacon Car & Pet Wash in Pacific, Missouri, known by roadies for its reuse of a long-defunct Route 66 motel’s sign, came up with an imaginative way to punish a local teen who’d stolen one of its U.S. flags.
According to a story in Yahoo!, car-wash owner Bill Hoaglin found one of three large American flags on his property was missing. Hoaglin reviewed footage from his surveillance camera and found this, from which he posted images on the business’ Facebook page:
The footage led to quite a few leads. We’ll let Yahoo! pick up the story:
The flag thief turned out to be Keaton Chandler, 19, who lives in town with his grandmother. “Keaton works the night shift at a local ice manufacturer so he got off work and biked around my car wash, looking for loose change before he took the flag,” Hoaglin tells Yahoo Lifestyle.
The 50-year-old alerted the Pacific City Police Department and a few hours later, he received a phone call from Chandler. “He said, ‘I am the guy who accidentally stole your flag,’” says Hoaglin. “I said, ‘There’s nothing accidental about stealing.”
Hoaglin says Chandler offered to return the flag if the business owner removed the Facebook footage. But as a former police officer of 18 years who specialized in community issues, Hoaglin offered Chandler a deal: Return the flag and avoid criminal charges by carrying out a symbolic punishment.
“I sent my daughter to Walmart to purchase more than 150 miniature American flags for Keaton to pass out to customers,” Hoaglin tells Yahoo Lifestyle.
Hoaglin told Yahoo that Chandler passed out the miniature American flags to customers and acknowledged his theft for five hours after apologizing to him.
Hoaglin commended Chandler for his attitude.
“He said he would do whatever it takes. … Keaton was grateful, courteous, and respectful and he thanked me for not sending him to jail. He deserved a break.”
Hoaglin is an Air Force veteran whose grandfather earned a Purple Heart during World War II.
According to Route 66 Times, the Beacon Car Wash’s neon sign came from the Beacon Motel along Route 66 in Pacific.
The Beacon Court/Motel opened in 1946 with “Sixteen modern, tastefully decorated cottages”. The motels neon sign is attached to a farm windmill tower with a beacon on top, hence the name “Beacon Motel”. Like so many other motels along the Mother Road, business probably pretty much fell off a cliff when Interstate 44 opened in the 1960s. By the mid-1980s it sat empty before becoming the site of a landscaping business. Ultimately the building was torn down and replaced by the car wash.
(Hat tip to Tonya Pike; images of the Beacon Car & Pet Wash sign in Pacific, Missouri, and Keaton Chandler passing out flags at the business via the business’ Facebook page)