Orange County’s David Nicholson has sold an American flag — said to have been flying at the Pentagon when it was struck on September 11, 2001 — via eBay for $371,000. The trouble is that Facchina Construction, the company whose crane Nicholson says was bearing the flag that morning, says that they didn’t have a crane there that morning. The top bidders consequently withdrew their bids, and the auction has started anew — bidding is currently up to $25,000, with two days to go. Nicholson’s year-long stint in prison after stealing $50,000 in cashmere sweaters in 1988 does little to bolster confidence in his story; the Orange County Sheriff reports that his office has dealt with the fellow regularly over the years. Nicholson and family have fled their home, living in a motel to escape the flood of publicity and controversy, which may or may not end with this auction. Thing start to get really weird with his claim that, when he headed home to pick up a few things last Friday, he was attacked, only to later find the flag’s letter of authenticity in his back yard. Kate Andrews had the story in yesterday’s Progress.