In 1976, Brian Carney and some prankster friends decided to sneak onto the Joliet Junior College campus and steal the American and bicentennial flags. They said they'd wanted to commemorate the nation's bicentennial.
Over the years the men would pass the flags between themselves every so often. They were never caught.
But Carney, who now lives in Texas, says it had started to bother him.
The Southtown Star reports that earlier this week he went to the campus and publicly surrendered the flags.
Campus police say the statute of limitations of misdemeanor theft has long passed and no charges will be filed.
College officials say the flags will displayed.