- Associated Press - Thursday, November 5, 2015

PIERRE, S.D. (AP) - A former employee in South Dakota’s secretary of state’s office accused of stealing a century-old state flag has been put on leave by the Republican firm for which he works.

Garrett DeVries, 26, has been working for Arlington, Virginia-based America Rising LLC, an affiliate of the America Rising PAC that raises money for GOP causes. America Rising does opposition research on Democratic candidates and sells it to Republican clients.

DeVries is on leave pending the outcome of his Nov. 23 appearance in state court in Pierre on a theft charge, company spokesman Jeff Bechdel told the Capital Journal (https://bit.ly/1l9bdxb ). In a statement of probable cause, an investigator said DeVries had admitted taking the flag because he thought it was “cool.”

DeVries’ attorney, David Palmer, didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment from the Capital Journal and The Associated Press.

The circa-1909 flag dates to Deadwood’s Old West days. The azure blue and gold banner had been displayed on a stand inside the secretary of state’s office in Pierre through numerous administrations. Officials noticed it was missing earlier this year. State investigators recovered it on Oct. 8 in Washington after a three-month probe.


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