Police in Salt Lake City are investigating after a number of Pride flags were set alight in the Utah capital.
The investigation began on Monday morning (3 July) after officers were called to a home where the owner reported their flag being cut down and burned, the police said in a statement.
After responding to the incident, they learned that at least four other LGBTQ+ flags in the area had been vandalised, reportedly during the early hours of that morning.
The police want to hear from anyone with information and have asked people in the area to check home-surveillance systems to see if they captured footage of any suspect.
In its statement, the police department also said it recognised “our responsibility to investigate hate crimes thoroughly and impartially to hold offenders accountable and ensure justice for survivors”.
They went on to say: “The Salt Lake City police department educates its officers and works with our community to recognise and condemn hate crimes and works to prevent them from occurring in the future.
“Hate has no place in our community.”
Photos of four of the flags were posted on social media by the police, with the images showing them having been cut and one in ashes on the ground.
One resident, Joseph Leyba, told the news outlet that he and four neighbours woke on Tuesday morning to find their flags in ashes on the pavement, and that he was “at a loss for emotions and feelings”.
He said it was particularly shocking because the area was Salt Lake’s unofficial LGBTQ+ district.
On a positive note, he added a woman he did not know replaced all the flags.
“She had Pride flags in her hands and was setting them on the front porches of all the individuals that had been affected,” Leyba said.