Police are investigating a possible hate crime on Prince Street in SoHo after a Pride flag hanging outside a local restaurant was set ablaze in the middle of the night.
Authorities say the rainbow flag was set on fire at around 1:40 a.m. outside The Little Prince, a French restaurant near Prince Street at MacDougal Street which brands itself as a “playful rework of a Parisian bistro.” When officers arrived, they observed firefighters extinguishing the blaze.
There were no reported injuries and no arrests have been made thus far, police said.
A preliminary investigation determined that, at around 1:35 a.m., a woman exited the front passenger side of car stopped nearby and approached the establishment on foot before lighting the flag on fire. The suspect — described by police as a female with a light complexion and long, dark colored hair — immediately fled back into the vehicle, which was last seen traveling westbound on Prince Street toward MacDougal Street.
Before the fire, first reported by ABC7, read “Make America Gay Again” — a phrase that workers told the news outlet may have set the woman off. Workers also told ABC7 that the flag had been stolen once before.
The fire reportedly led to a temporary evacuation of the apartments above the restaurant, and the incident remains under investigation by both the Police Department and the Fire Department.
A total of 12 units and 60 fire and EMS personnel responded to the scene, fire officials told amNewYork Metro.