SOMEONE WAS out to offend just about everyone in Chester County, it seems.

In an act that managed to be both unpatriotic and sacrilegious, an American flag was stolen from the West Grove Presbyterian Church, burned and left in a puddle sometime between Friday night and Saturday morning, State Police said.

The church, on West Evergreen Street in West Grove, has flown an American flag on its sign out front for quite some time, said church Pastor Charlie Gross, who noted that the flag was there when he came on board a year ago.

"This church is very patriotic," said Gross, who retired from the Delaware Air National Guard as a lieutenant colonel after 24 years of service.

"It disturbs me," Gross said. "God is important to me and so is the country."

But sometime between 6 p.m. Friday, when the last church employee left, and 8 a.m. Saturday, someone who apparently didn't appreciate the church's patriotism tore the flag down, set it ablaze and threw it in a puddle in front of the church, said Gross.

"The lady that bought the flag was heartbroken," Gross said. "It means a lot to her."

State Police said that, if caught, the vandal could face charges including criminal mischief and insults to a national or commonwealth flag.

Gross said he can't imagine who would do such a thing.

"It's bad to say, but I guess I'm sort of hoping that it's a random act and not something deeper than that," he said.