The Hudson Police Department is investigating a potential hate crime after two LGBT pride flags were found burned and another one was stolen on Orange Street between Fifth and Eighth streets Wednesday night.

The flags were stolen from three different residences sometime between 9 p.m. Wednesday and 7 a.m. Thursday. Two of the flags were found burned in the area while the other one is still missing.

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Other similar flags have been stolen from this area in the past. Police Chief Marty Jensen said the vandalization of the flags showed an escalation from the past cases.

“This is the first time that it's been ramped up,” he said.

The fact that the flags were burnt and then left out for people to find leads the department to investigate the incident as a potential hate crime, Jensen said.

If it is found to be a hate crime, that would mean a higher level of prosecution.

“We’ll hopeful that we’ll get some leads on this,” Jensen said.

The department is looking for the public’s help in the cases. Anyone with information is asked to call the Hudson Police Department at 715-386-4771.

Officers will provide extra patrol in the area.