DENTON - Six times a year, the Denton Rotary places American flags around the historic Denton County Courthouse.
"These are where the flags go," said president-elect Randy Robinson. "We set them out, pick them up."
September 11th is one of those times they put out the flags.
"We never want to forget," Robinson said.
He said they fly the flags in honor of those who died that day, including firefighters. He pointed out that 343 firefighters died that day.
So when video surfaced of a man, ripping two of those flags down in the early morning hours of Saturday, September 9, the Denton County Sheriff shared it on Facebook and got to work. According to an arrest warrant affidavit, a mix of surveillance video and credit card receipts from restaurants and establishments on the square led them to an unlikely suspect.
"He was identified as Michael Wagemann, Fort Worth firefighter," says Capt. Orlando Hinojosa, of the Denton County Sheriff's Office.
Wagemann, 37, is now on desk duty as the Fort Worth Fire Department conducts its own investigation into what happened. There was even a warrant out for Wagemann's arrest this weekend after authorities said he failed to turn himself in. The alleged crime, criminal mischief, is a class C misdemeanor. But Hinojosa said Wagemann's attorney posted his bond Monday.
"Being a public servant, you know, even if you're drinking or upset with somebody, don't mess with the flag," Hinojosa says.
Randy Robinson, with the Denton Rotary, says it wasn't until a few days ago that he realized it was a firefighter accused in this case.
"That kind of hit home a little harder," says Robinson, whose relatives were also firefighters.
No one answered the door Monday at Wagemann's Denton home, where an American flag flies on an outside wall. His attorney has not called back either. Authorities are not sure about a motive.
"It's more than just a piece of cloth," Robinson said. He adds he's disappointed, but not deterred.
"They'll be back out Veterans Day," he said of the flags.
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