- Associated Press - Tuesday, November 24, 2015

PIERRE, S.D. (AP) - A former employee in South Dakota’s secretary of state’s office who admitted to stealing a century-old state flag has submitted a court-ordered apology.

The 26-year-old Garrett Devries addressed the brief letter to the secretary of state, the office’s employees and the people of South Dakota. DeVries offers a “sincere apology” and says he understands that his actions caused the office “to devote time and energy to recover the flag.”

Devries pleaded guilty to misdemeanor theft and was given a suspended 30-day jail sentence. He was ordered to publicly apologize, pay court costs and $1,500 toward upkeep of the flag.

The flag that dates to Deadwood’s Old West days had been displayed on a stand inside the secretary of state’s office through numerous administrations.

Officials noticed it was missing earlier this year and investigators recovered it from Devries Oct. 8.

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