Irish men arrested for stealing a US flag 9 years ago

Irish men arrested for stealing a US flag

We’ve all woken up with some random things after a night out. Traffic cones, road signs, garden gnomes – stealing useless things is something that just always seems like a good idea. And if we get caught, we can fall back on that wonderful excuse: “Sure, I’m only having the craic like!”

Somehow we don’t think that James Mulroy and John Kerrigan will be able to use that in their defence though…


The Irish Daily Star reports that the two Irish tourists are facing a year in a US prison for stealing an American flag after a night out.

The Dubliners were locked up after coppers raided their hotel room and found ‘Old Glory’ lying on the ground between their two beds. The two men were charged with theft and vandalism in the city of Knoxville, Tennessee.

The pair were caught after a taxi driver rang cops claiming that he saw Mulroy and Kerrigan cutting down the US flag outside the headquarters of the state’s biggest electricity company, TVA. The two men then legged it from the scene of the crime with the flag in tow.

The taxi driver, who obviously had nothing better to do, followed them to the Crowne Plaza Hotel opposite the scene of the crime and it wasn’t long before police were raiding the room.

“A witness contacted TVA police, stating two white males just cut the American flag down. The two defendants then ran towards the Crowne Plaza. I was able to get the subject’s phone number,” said local cop Keela Yates-Matoy.

“The defendants then told me that they were in room 407 of the hotel. When I arrive at the room I advised the defendants that I was looking for something that I believed they took,” she added.

Barbara Martocci, a spokeswoman for TVA said: “TVA does have the flag back and it’s being held in evidence. We do not plan to reuse it.”


Americans are very protective of their flag and US law reflects this. If the men are convicted they will face up to a year in jail. The good news is that Kerrigan and Mulroy have only been charged with minor offences of theft and vandalism because they just nicked the flag and did not damage it. But even still, the offences remain serious.

Now, what have we learned? Never steal a US flag in the US on a night out...