The incident occurred at 8:20 p.m. Tuesday in front of 2910 Broadway at Columbia University, police said.
Police say surveillance video shows the individual approached a banner with multiple pride flags hanging from the college and lit them on fire before fleeing in an unknown direction.
In a statement, Columbia University said the school sent out an alert to their campus community stating that public safety was notified by an affiliate that two LGBTQIA+ flags were discovered removed and damaged in front of Hogan Hall. The university added that this case is being investigated by the Hate Crime Task Force.
The investigation is ongoing and no arrests have been made.
Police are seeking the public’s help in identifying the man, whom they describe as 30 to 40 years old, dark-skinned and bearded, and wearing a black sweatshirt with red strips across the chest and arms, and dark pants with multi-color sneakers.
Police are urging anyone with information to call the Crime Stoppers hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS.