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Albany police investigating string of flag burning incidents

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ALBANY, N.Y. (WRGB) - Just days ago, a large Canadian flag was flying outside Robert Cary’s Albany home. It’s a flag, he said, that he put up to honor neighbors who have become good friends and are from Canada.

“Never expected this, for what I thought was just a very benign thing,” said Cary.

On Thursday morning Cary said that his wife found the flag outside their home on the ground. It had been set on fire and destroyed.

“It was laying on the steps here just burned to a crisp and it actually melted into our steps somewhat,” he said.

On Friday, CBS6 News reported on another family that experienced something similar. That resident didn't want to be identified, but told CBS6 that they found a rainbow flag burned on their front porch. They had hung it outside their home during Pride month this summer.

“I want to make it really clear that everyone is welcome everywhere in the U.S. That's a really important and very American sentiment,” they said.

“Right now we believe they (the cases) are connected. Certainly an unusual case but we are taking it very seriously,” said Albany Police Public Information Officer Steve Smith.

Smith said that a South Korean flag was also found burned and left in a driveway. The three incidents happened on New Scotland, Hansen and Woodlawn Avenues. They all happened within the same window of time from Wednesday into Thursday.

“Right now our primary objective is to locate the person or persons responsible for the incidents, then we can discuss charges afterwards. I mean, certainly a hate crime is possible, but our goal right now is to find out who's responsible,” said Smith.

Cary said that he doesn't know why someone would do this. He did point out, that this crime could have set his home on fire.

“I hope they catch the individuals who did it and the first thing I did Thursday morning after I found the burned up flag was I ordered another one. So it's going right back up,” said Cary.

Police are asking anyone who saw something, or may have some video cameras set up on their homes, to give them a call.

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