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updated: 7/6/2014 9:46 AM

Thief returns 9/11 firefighter's flag with apology

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Associated Press

HUNTINGTON STATION, N.Y. -- An American flag stolen from the family of a firefighter killed on Sept. 11 has been returned with a note that says: "I am so sorry, I had no idea."

NBC New York reports that the flag was returned Thursday. It has resumed flying on the porch of Melissa Brengel's home in Huntington Station on New York's Long Island.

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Brengel's brother, Jonathan Ielpi (eye-EHL'-pee), was 29 when he died at the World Trade Center in 2001.

The family believes the flag was stolen last Monday or early Tuesday. Brengel says, "We put it out during certain times of the year just to remember."

She says the September 11th Families Association gave her the flag after it flew over the World Trade Center ruins.

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