Sentimental item stolen from a Northeast Fresno home

FRESNO, Calif.

Bruno Cervantes, 73, suffered a stroke on Easter Sunday four years ago. He now uses a wheelchair and every morning sits on his front porch, overlooking one of the last items he built with his own two hands.

"It means a lot to our family and on the 4th of July my Mom would set up a big BBQ out here, put the blankets up and we'd sit by the flagpole and watch the fireworks go. It's sad that it was taken," said his daughter Frances Tamayo.

Taken from the front yard sometime overnight.

"This morning, I got up and my son-in-law said hey Mary where's your flagpole? And I said it's out there. NO it's not. And I said oh my god someone took my flagpole!" said Bruno's wife, Maria Cervantes.

Cervantes said the patriotic post was pilfered just one day before her family planned to fly the American flag in honor of Bruno's birthday.

"It was a surprise to me and I'm also hurting because it was something sentimental you know?" she said.

The 24 foot flagpole holds special meaning to the Cervantes. Bruno built it for his two grandchildren currently in the service and the third now gearing up to enlist.

"It makes me sad because this isn't something that should happen to my parents. Like I said, they're good people and they really would give the shirt off their back and if someone needed it, they would've given it, but to take it is something different," said Tamayo.

The couple's neighbor, Korean war veteran and former Marine, Junior Watkins, was just as shocked to discover the metal beam missing from the front yard.

"I don't know why anyone would steal a flagpole, said Watkins. "It should mean a lot to everybody."

Both he and the members of Cervantes family are now urging the thieves to have a heart and return it in time for Bruno's party on Saturday afternoon.

"No questions asked," said Maria. "They can just lay it down on the yard. That would be fine."

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