CHICAGO (CBS) — Until Wednesday morning, an American flag had flown outside Lou Sobelewski’s house in the Montclare neighborhood practically non-stop for nearly 25 years. Then, someone cut Old Glory down and walked away with it.

Since 1991 and the start of the first Gulf War, Sobelewski has flown the American flag from a 20-foot flagpole in his back yard in the 2900 block of North New England Avenue.

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“As long as there’s an American citizen fighting to keep us free, there should be a flying for him,” he said.

Sobelewski said it’s sad someone would steal an American flag.

“You don’t know what became, what the end of the flag will be. If he took it to hang it up or to destroy it,” he said.

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Sobelewski, 66, put up a new three-by-five foot flag on Sunday, because the old one had become worn. Early Wednesday morning, a neighbor’s surveillance camera captured pictures of the man who cut it down and walked off with it. The pictures show a man with a cigarette dangling from his mouth, clutching the American flag under his arms.

“If he was an American who did it, he was a traitor. If he was not an American, he was a terrorist,” Sobelewski said.

He changes flags about once a year, because they become too tattered to repair. He gives the old ones to the local VFW Post to properly destroy.

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Sobelewski has already replaced the stolen flag and filed a police report.