(NEW YORK) — Police are looking for five people seen on surveillance video before bleached-white American flags were added to the poles atop the Brooklyn Bridge.
The group was seen walking on the bridge after 3 a.m. Tuesday. At around 3:30 a.m., the lights that illuminate the U.S. flags on either side of the bridge could be seen flickering and then going out completely. At 5:30 a.m., construction workers noticed that the seemingly-white flags had replaced the American flags, police said.
Officers later made their way up the bridge’s main cables, finding aluminum pans — secured with zip ties — covering the lights. The bleached flags were removed, and the traditional American flags were returned.
Police admitted they don’t know who committed the security breach or how they accomplished it.
“I’m not particularly happy about the event,” NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton said Tuesday.
NYPD Deputy Commissioner John Miller, who also oversees intelligence and counter terrorism, said tests were being conducted on the two flags.
“At this time, there is no sign of any particular nexus to terrorism or even politics,” Miller said. “It could be someone’s art project or a statement, but it’s not clear what that statement is.”
The perpetrators may have had some experience climbing in construction or bridgework, or have previously been up to the bridge’s flag platforms, Miller said.
Either way, authorities said, whoever pulled off the breach was able to scale 276 feet, somehow making it past the locked gates that sit atop the bridge’s steel cables.
Eric Adams, Brooklyn’s borough president, is offering $5,000 for information leading to an arrest.
“This is the Brooklyn Bridge, and the only person who should surrender at this time is the person responsible for the desecration of this flag,” Adams said.
The famed bridge, one of the country’s oldest suspension bridges, was completed in 1883 and connects Brooklyn and Manhattan over the East River.
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