JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – An American flag that Marcus Robbins brought home from war and has carried with him for more than 25 years was stolen from his SUV last week. He doesn't care about the laptop or other things taken, but he wants the flag back.
Robbins, a disabled Navy veteran, said the flag has tremendous sentimental value because he's carried it with him since the day he watched several friends die overseas.
It was in a gray backpack that Robbins carried with him everywhere. He also had a laptop and some money inside. He said a neighbor rang his doorbell early Saturday morning after finding some of Robbins' books and belongings down the street.
"He told me he found it down the street in front of a neighbor named Bradshaw's house," Robbins said. "Immediately, I walked over to my Jeep and started looking through the back."
It wasn't until he got to the trunk that he noticed his gray backpack was gone.
Robbins said it's like losing his friends all over again.
"I don't think you meant to disrespect me, or that flag, or my fellow serviceman but once you find out that flag is in there, you need to understand there is so much more meaning than just a piece of cloth. And I want it back," Robbins said. "I can care less about the backpack. I can care less about my laptop or books. I can buy all that. I just want my flag back."
Robbins said he's had the flag for years -- ever since he enlisted in the Navy. He's changed out backpacks three times but always keeps the flag close by. He hopes whoever took it has a heart and sees this story.
"I can go buy flags all day long, but I can't buy that flag,' Robbins said. "It might be silly to some people but the sentimental value to that, it's my friends, my soldiers that worked for me, it's my sailors that worked for me, it's the guys that lost their lives."
Robbins hopes someone will turn in the flag either by leaving it on his doorstep with a note or getting it to him some other way.
If you have seen the backpack or flag, or have any idea who may have taken it, email News4Jax reporter Heather Leigh at email@example.com, and she will help get the information to Robbins.