Woman arrested on hate crime charges after Pride flag lit on fire outside SoHo restaurant

Wednesday, February 22, 2023
Woman arrested, charged after Pride flag lit on fire in SoHo
Angelina Cando, 30, was arrested Tuesday and charged with arson, criminal mischief and reckless endangerment -- all as hate crimes. Derick Waller reports.

SOHO, Manhattan (WABC) -- A suspect has been arrested and charged after a Pride flag was set on fire outside of a restaurant in Manhattan.

Angelina Cando, 30, was arrested Tuesday and charged with arson, criminal mischief and reckless endangerment -- all as hate crimes.

The Pride flag, which read "Make America Gay Again," was set on fire early Monday morning at The Little Prince restaurant in SoHo.

The tongue-in-cheek phrase is believed to have set off the suspect who is seen in surveillance video taking out a lighter and setting the flag on fire before driving off in her white SUV.

A surveillance video showed a Pride flag catching fire outside a restaurant in SoHo.

The fire led to a temporary evacuation of the apartments above the Prince Street restaurant.

"Can't imagine someone would have that much hate to do something like this," restaurant regular Charlotte Wynn said. "Especially not knowing if it could physically hurt someone as well."

The restaurant owner said an employee was inside the restaurant at the time of the incident and quickly called 911.

"To be a part of it, and to witness it, and to work here and to have that happen, like this is my job," the employee said. "This is where I make money and this is also where I have a home. So to have that taken away, I'm confused and I'm hurt, and I don't know how to feel about it."

Fortunately, no one was injured in the fire. The fire led to some cracked windows and external damage. D and C Landscaping donated their services to replant flowers in front of the business to replace the ones that were burned in the fire.

The owner of Litte Prince said the Pride flag was stolen in the past, but the most recent spiteful act led to an outpouring of support from the community.

"What we saw in the video was a hate crime," Councilmember Erik Bottcher said. "Someone who intended to strike fear into our entire community."

A plan Bottcher said didn't work. On Monday, he helped the business install another Pride flag, this one larger than before.

"Our resolve is only strengthened when acts like this happen," Bottcher said. "We are standing up in the face of this hate and reasserting our pride in ourselves and our community. That's why we hung the flag again."

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