SHELBY, NC (WBTV) - There's something missing from Todd Mode's front porch, and it's something that means more than just controversy to the Cleveland County man.
"Every time you see a rebel flag, it's not to say 'there's a man who's prejudice, there's a man who's got hate in his heart.' It's to say, 'I'm proud to be a Southerner,'" Mode said.
Mode called WBTV after he says he came home Tuesday evening to find his beloved Confederate flag was gone, along with two small American flags which had been flying beside it.
"If I'd been home, things would have probably been ugly. Because I believe in defending my home," Mode said.
Mode says he knows the emotions this piece of cloth can create. But, he says, it's misunderstood. He's shocked that it's reached the point that someone would come onto his property and take the flag.
"I'll give you the shirt off my back, but don't steal from me," Mode said.
Mode filed a report with the Cleveland County Sheriff's Office, but he's now left wondering if the incident is a part of the "no flagging challenge," a so-called dare to steal Confederate flags while catching the act on tape.
"For somebody to come in my yard, trespassing, took a part of me with it," Mode said.
Mode plans to replace the flag soon, but he says he'll be more careful this time, and will be watching the flag closely as well as placing cameras on his property.
"I'm sure they'll be back. But this time, I'm going to be ready," Mode said.