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Two Riverside County men booked in American flag desecration case

April 19, 2010 |  9:00 pm
Two Riverside County men have been booked on suspicion of desecrating a U.S. flag that had flown on a La Quinta mountaintop to honor victims of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, authorities said Monday.

The flag had been displayed for several years near California 111 and Washington Street after it was put there by a local resident, the Riverside County Sheriff's Department said.

In February, authorities were alerted that the flag had been damaged and replaced by a Canadian flag.

Authorities said an investigation determined that the flag was allegedly vandalized Ryan Smith, 25,  of Bermuda Dunes and Matt Siefert, 26, of Palm Desert.

On Monday, the Sheriff's Department announced that it turned the case over to prosecutors with a recommendation that vandalism charges be filed against Smith and Siefert.

--Robert J. Lopez