Thief DeVries Expresses His Remorse for Not Returning State Flag

Hey, South Dakota! Looking for your apology from Republican flag thief Garrett Darwin DeVries? Here it is, posted as the opening banner on the Secretary of State’s homepage (which I know I access almost every day):

Garrett Darwin DeVries, apology to citizens of South Dakota, posted to Secretary of State's website, 2015.11.25.
Garrett Darwin DeVries, apology to citizens of South Dakota, posted to Secretary of State’s website, 2015.11.25.

To the Secretary of State, Employees, and People of South Dakota:

I am writing this letter to express my remorse to you, employees of the State, and the people of South Dakota for not returning the flag to your office. I understand that my actions caused you to devote time and energy to recover the flag. I further understand that my actions caused repercussions for your employees and the people of the State of South Dakota. I am thankful that the flag will be preserved and displayed for future generations.

Please accept my sincere apology.


(signed) Garrett DeVries [apology posted to Secretary of State’s website, 2015.11.25]

Remorse for “not returning the flag”—am I being hypersensitive, or does that sound just a little euphemistic? I don’t think the name of the crime to which DeVries pled guilty was “Misdemeanor Failure to Return State Property.” The crime was theft. DeVries avoids that word. Stuck somewhere in an early stage of Kohlberg’s moral development, DeVries speaks of vague practical consequences and “repercussions.” But he doesn’t seem to straightforwardly acknowledge that he behaved immorally.

Taking the flag wasn’t wrong because people had to spend time looking for it. Taking the flag wasn’t wrong because it had repercussions for other people. Taking the flag was wrong because it wasn’t his.

Oh well. We got the flag back. DeVries got busted, and he won’t work in this town again, at least not until he outgrows his young-and-stupid stage.

18 Responses to Thief DeVries Expresses His Remorse for Not Returning State Flag

  1. It may be the emotion surrounding Thanksgiving, but that heartfelt apology brought tears to my eyes…

  2. dear state of sd, sorry i got caught. also sorry i’m so cheap i cannot pay an attorney to craft a reasonable apology letter…

  3. He doesn’t seem very sincere to me. It should have been a longer letter with sorriness about the stealing not just about getting caught. This fellow is probably a little punk. He worked for Mr. Gant.

  4. Wayne Pauli

    Yes, his remorse is only in being caught and having to check in with a probation officer once a month for a year.

  5. Nick Nemec

    He’s damn lucky they way undercharged him for stealing a one of a kind State artifact. I wouldn’t be so sure he won’t work in Pierre again. Given his former job in the SOS office and his current job with a Republican research firm in Washington I’d say he’s considered a GOP wonder kid and was on the fast track. He’ll be in the legislature within 15 years.

  6. Not sorry for stealing from his employer. Not sorry for lying to DCI about it.

    What else did Garrett DeVries take? Was he fired from his SOS job, or did he quit? What’s the rest of the story?

  7. owen reitzel

    Grud we actually agree on something. DeVries is only sorry he got caught

  8. Here’s another thing about DeVries. If Jamison had won the SF mayor race his campaign manager DeVries would have had a $100,000+ job working for the city of Sioux Falls.

  9. RWB, that’s the onions in your green bean casserole….

  10. Roger Cornelius

    Garret is a South Dakota republican, should we have expected anything more from him?

    Garret do you have one of those missing Ipads?

  11. Nick Nemec

    He probably fenced the missing iPads down on 14th Street in DC.

  12. mike from iowa

    Today is the 24th. The apology?,such as it is,does not officially exist yet. Pretty pathetic as it is.

  13. I am sure some of you fellows who know your way around the computers can monitor this young man’s goings on in Washington or wherever he pops up. He will be known as the Flag Burglar for the rest of his years. I bet every time he eats at Burger King his gut knots up.

  14. Thinking about it, this Garrett DeVries in an incompetent of the highest magnitude. He’s responsible for the SOS IOasis boondoggle that wasted a bunch of federal money. As the head of that project he’s responsible for the Ipad minis that went missing. And then he’s responsible for city council member Jamison losing the mayor race. That’s even without talking about his flag theft. With a track record like that, the next Republican President will probably appoint him the head of FEMA or something.

  15. mike from iowa

    Grudz-all it took was the thief’s name and city of residence and voila,one flag thief found. I’m guessing even wingnuts could have done that much.

  16. it looks like he had it for a couple of years, i wonder if he used it for a lap blanket while watching re-runs of the west wing…….

  17. In some states where elected officials have a stronger sense of pride in their state, stealing an original state flag would result in the thief spending time in an orange jumpsuit. In South Dakota, the elected officials in Pierre view state government as a giant, never-empty hog trough for themselves and their pals. Nick Nemec is right. This joker got off too easy. And his so-called apology is a joke.

    The big question that needs to be asked here is where did this guy get the idea that state property was okay to lift? Who were his supervisors while he got paid to “work” in the Secretary of State’s Office? And what did those bums lift on their ways out the door?

    One of them took a big fat junket to Germany under the pretense of showing trained soldiers how to vote.

  18. The Hughes Co. SA should tell him apology not accepted. As has been pointed out, he was convicted of stealing the flag – not for failure to return the flag. His apology implies he somehow had the right to possess the flag in the first place and his only wrong doing was not returning it.