On Sunday, Sept. 11, the Hollister Police Department received a report of a man slashing flags that were displayed along San Benito Street. Police located the man and cited him for the vandalism.
Here is the report from an HPD press release:
At about 5 p.m. on Sunday September 11, 2016, Hollister Police officers responded to the area of San Benito Street and South Street on a report of a man slashing the American flags.
The flags were displayed along the sidewalks commemorating the anniversary of the September 11th attacks on the United States. The reporting party advised a Hispanic man wearing a Giants baseball jersey and grey shorts was using a knife to cut the flags. Pictures of the man were taken while he was in the act of the vandalism.
Officer Yerena recognized the description of the man matching the clothing of a local transient observed earlier in the day in the downtown area. Officer Yerena located Anthony Ray Gonzales (33) (AKA Gonzalez) walking on Sixth Street and he had the same clothing described by the reporting party. Gonzalez was contacted and found in possession of a knife.
A search in the area revealed at least three flags that had been vandalized. The reporting party provided pictures of the suspect who they observed cutting the flags. The images captured appeared to be those of Anthony Gonzalez.
The flags were placed in the downtown area by Boy Scout Troop 777. The scout leader was contacted and it was later determined there were a total of 10 flags that had been slashed in a similar manner.
A search of the downtown camera system also captured the vandalism as the suspect pulls on the flag located near Seventh and San Benito Street and stabs the flag in the middle and slashes it. The suspect then walks to the flag located directly in front of the Veteran’s Memorial Building and vandalizes the flags located there.
Gonzalez was cited and released for the misdemeanor vandalism. Police said that in November 2015, Gonzalez was a suspect in the slashing the holiday lights on San Benito Street and was cited for cutting a phone line to a church.