Police are looking for seven people seen blowing up an LGBT newspaper box in Salem.

The explosion happened early Tuesday morning. Police said the seven people placed explosives inside the Rainbow Times newspaper box in Salem Square, then ran off as it blew up.

Police said they are investigating this as a hate crime. Rainbow Times is New England’s largest LGBT newspaper and co-owner Nicole Lashomb said as many as a dozen Rainbow Times newspaper boxes have been vandalized in downtown Salem over the past few months. Lashomb said the paper has made sure to keep the newspaper boxes in view of a traffic camera because of this but said the vandalism has never reached this level.

“We put a love of love and work into our LGBT and allied communities,” said Lashomb. “We have amazing support here in Salem. This was not the location that we ever expected this to happen in.”

Police said they received several calls reporting the explosion, with people from a mile away saying they could hear it.

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