HARRISBURG, Pa. — A Pennsylvania man has been arrested for setting fire to a plastic Confederate battle flag attached to a parked pickup truck, in an apparent drunken impulse, police said on Friday.
Mathew Becker of Hanover admitted setting fire to the flag at 5:30 a.m. on July 17 in the parking lot of a local convenience store, local police said.
“It was a crime of opportunity,” said Lieutenant Chad Martin of the Hanover Police Department. “He was not upset about the flag. He was walking by, he had a lighter in his hand, and he was intoxicated.”
Becker, 47, who was identified by surveillance video, was arraigned on Thursday on counts of reckless burning, criminal mischief and disorderly conduct, police said.
The incident came a week after the Confederate battle flag was removed from the grounds of the South Carolina statehouse, a move prompted by the June 17 killing of nine black men and women at a Charleston church by a white gunman.
A bookstore and visitors’ center at the Gettysburg National Military Park, 16 miles to the west, removed many Confederate flag items from sale following the Charleston killings.