Suspect arrested in NYC Pride flag-burning outside of gay bar

PHOTO: The charred remains of a rainbow pride flag sit on the ground outside the Alibi Lounge in the Harlem borough of New York after it was burned by a vandal, July 8, 2019.PlayWABC
WATCH Rainbow flag burned outside bar in NYC

Police said they apprehended a suspect on Tuesday evening who allegedly set fire to a rainbow flag outside of a Harlem gay bar.

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NYPD Chief of Detectives Dermot Shea said officers made the arrest thanks to tips from the community.

"Your calls to @NYPDTips and the efforts of our @NYPDHateCrimes detectives have led to the identification and apprehension of the individual who burned the pride flag," Shea tweeted Tuesday along with an image of a man at the scene of the crime. He did not release any details about the suspect in custody.

The arrest came just a day after New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said he asked state authorities to open a hate crime investigation over the incident outside of Alibi Lounge, the only gay bar in the neighborhood around 139th Street and Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Boulevard.

"This act of hate is repugnant to our values of equality and inclusion, and we will not stand by and allow these cowardly acts to continue in New York," he said in a statement. "I am once again directing the State Police Hate Crimes Unit to assist the NYPD with its investigation and hold those responsible accountable to the fullest extent of the law."

"In New York we have zero tolerance for this despicable behavior," he added.

PHOTO: The charred remains of a rainbow pride flag sit on the ground outside the Alibi Lounge in the Harlem borough of New York after it was burned by a vandal, July 8, 2019. WABC
The charred remains of a rainbow pride flag sit on the ground outside the Alibi Lounge in the Harlem borough of New York after it was burned by a vandal, July 8, 2019.

Alibi's owners posted images of the torched flag to Twitter early Monday morning, noting that it had been targeted by arsonists twice in five weeks.

"Evil has struck again! Someone set our new pride flag on fire," the owners tweeted. "There is no words to express what we're feeling."

The lounge was also targeted on May 31, just ahead of the city's Pride Month kickoff, when surveillance cameras caught a man lighting two rainbow flags on fire at the club. NYPD officials tweeted a grainy photo of a suspect on Monday evening who they said was wanted to anti-LGBTQ criminal mischief in connection to the case.

PHOTO: An image made from video released by the NYPD Crime Stoppers shows a person setting fire to two rainbow pride flags in front of the Alibi Lounge in the Harlem borough of New York, May 31, 2019. NYPDTips/Twitter
An image made from video released by the NYPD Crime Stoppers shows a person setting fire to two rainbow pride flags in front of the Alibi Lounge in the Harlem borough of New York, May 31, 2019.
PHOTO: The charred remains of a rainbow pride flag sit on the ground outside the Alibi Lounge in the Harlem borough of New York after it was burned by a vandal, July 8, 2019. WABC
The charred remains of a rainbow pride flag sit on the ground outside the Alibi Lounge in the Harlem borough of New York after it was burned by a vandal, July 8, 2019.

"About a month ago we had the first incident, we did put out some video that was recovered but honestly the video was far away. We believe there’s a good chance the individual resides somewhere in that community," Shea told reporters Monday. "We are out there canvassing as we speak and we are relying on the community here as well anyone with any info."

The incident comes as the city battles with an spike in hate crimes across the board, with anit-Semitic and anti-LGBTQ crimes jumping 90% and 20%, respectively, from a year ago as of June 2, the NYPD said.

On Monday, the department said it had recorded 220 reported hate crimes year-to-date, a 48% increase from the same period last year, as overall crime decreases. The total of reported hate crimes were listed at 184 on June 2, when the city released its most-recent monthly crime report.

ABC News' Aaron Katersky and Joshua Hoyos contributed to this report.