By Bill Shields

BARNSTABLE (CBS) — A Plymouth man has been arrested in connection with the theft of flags from bridges spanning the Mid-Cape Highway.

Over the past few years, flags have been placed on several bridges, including a black and blue banner on the Route 6 overpass meant to honor police officers.

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But recently, 60-year-old David Hickman decided that banner should come down. He said he supports police, but that it’s all about the public space being used.

David Hickman. (WBZ-TV)

David Hickman. (WBZ-TV)

“Is state property now supposed to become a billboard for the general public?” Hickman asked. “And if so, can anybody put something there?”

On Sunday, the 15th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, Hickman was caught by a Barnstable detective in the act of dismantling the banner.

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“This is the fourth time someone matching Hickman’s description has been seen stealing the flags,” said Barnstable Police Sgt. Sean Sweeney.

(WBZ-TV)

(WBZ-TV)

On Monday, when told that the black and blue banner he tried to take apart was put up by Yarmouth Police Deputy Chief Steven Xiarhos, who lost his son in Afghanistan, Hickman tried to apologize, but could not meet with the police officer due to legal reasons.

“This is their cause, and now I know it’s their cause, and I didn’t know that before,” Hickman said.

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Police in Barnstable doubt his story–they believe he’s responsible for four instances in total, in which six flags were taken down.