By Nick Janes

TURLOCK (CBS13) — A stunning act of vandalism right before the Fourth of July had Turlock residents and workers scrambling to fix American flags.

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It’s almost inconceivable and it is certainly extremely disrespectful.

Vandals damaged about a dozen flags put up in downtown for Turlock’s big parade, jumping to pull the stars and stripes down with their weight, severely bending the poles.

The flags drooped down nearly to the sidewalk. If we’re talking money, it’s about $500 worthe of damage. But of course, we’re talking about the flag, so it goes deeper than that.

An after-hours assembly line scrambled to repair the damage done in a building with no air conditioning on a summer day where temperatures were well into the 100s.

Workers were fixing a triumphant display of patriotism that was turned into an ugly display of disrespect.

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“For just no other reason that we can figure out, other than just for kicks,” said Dana McGarry with the Turlock Downtown Property Owners Association. “There’s just something wrong about it. What kind of people do that? I don’t know.”

Sadly, it’s happened several times before here. In year’s past, someone stole the flags and poles. This time the poles were screwed into place, but even that wasn’t enough.

The display lasted less than 24 hours.

“It is quite rude,” said Turlock resident Kelly Doyle. “My dad was in Vietnam. It’s quite rude to do that.”

But it won’t be a Fourth without the flag. The association is repairing the damage, and this time using much stronger poles to make sure the stars and stripes will fly proudly.

“It’s the entire community that’s going to come out tomorrow, and be part of something American,” said McGarry.

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Turlock Police increased patrols in downtown to make sure nobody tampered with the flags before the parade.