Police arrest man who burned American flag hanging from Virginia home

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Andrew Rosas (PHOTO: Richmond Police)

RICHMOND, Va. - A man caught on video setting fire to an American flag that hung outside a Richmond, Virginia home has turned himself in to police, according to WTVR.

Andrew Rosas, 26, was arrested and charged with arson.

Homeowner James Tanner said he discovered the vandalism when he woke up Wednesday and checked footage from the Nest cam focused on his front porch.

"This is vandalism, and you have somebody that totally disregards the safety of the people around there," Tanner told CBS 6. "It is also totally disregard what the flag represents."

He said he was "very concerned" because the fire could have spread to his home.

"It was a synthetic flag, so it just melted," he said. "I don't think this was about burning an American flag. I think this is about, well, I can't get this unhooked so I'm just going to catch it on fire."

In Virginia, burning a flag with malice is against the law and can result in a misdemeanor criminal charge.

The charred flag pole was still attached to the home Wednesday afternoon. According to WTVR, the incident could result in a felony charge.

"That makes it a much more serious offense because it could catch the house on fire and cause risk to the people inside," said legal analyst Todd Stone.

Tanner's neighbors called the incident troubling.

"The whole front porch could have caught on fire. Now, knowing it was one of my neighbors, my house could have caught on fire. So, it could have been a really bad situation," said neighbor Joseph Lawson. "You got to know how controversial that is, whether he's trying to make a protest or not."

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