Russian tourist charged for scaling Brooklyn Bridge in New York

Tourist took photos atop Brooklyn Bridge, weeks after flag raisers breached security

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 26 August, 2014, 9:07pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 26 August, 2014, 9:09pm


A Russian tourist has been arrested and charged after scaling New York's iconic Brooklyn Bridge to take pictures with his mobile phone, authorities say.

Yaroslav Kolchin, sporting a backpack, shorts and baseball cap, was spotted climbing to the top of one of the towers supporting the mighty structure shortly after midday on Sunday.

Once there, the 24-year-old walked around and took photos with his iPhone before safely descending back down a cable support beam as a police aviation unit hovered nearby.

He was later taken into custody, with charges against him including criminal trespass and reckless endangerment, according to a police statement issued on Monday.

Following his arraignment in Brooklyn on Monday, he was held on a US$5,000 bond.

His next hearing is scheduled for Friday.

Police said Kolchin - who came to the United States with a tour group - did not cause any damage or attempt to remove anything from the famous landmark, adding that no injuries were reported.

But prosecutors said his arrest required a "high allocation of resources".

Mayor Bill de Blasio said the city was launching a "full-scale review" of security at the bridge, but assured New Yorkers that they were being kept safe.

"You can hold me accountable and [Police] Commissioner [William] Bratton accountable," the mayor said. "We are in the process of making changes in the way we protect the bridges that are our responsibility."

The incident marks the second time in weeks that security at the Brooklyn Bridge has been breached.

Earlier this month, two German artists - Mischa Leinkauf and Matthias Wermke - claimed responsibility for a pair of big white flags which turned up last month on top of the bridge in place of the US stars and stripes.

The sudden appearance of the flags sparked a probe in which police ruled out any terrorist link.

The prank was aimed at celebrating the span designed by a German-born engineer who died in 1869 on July 22 - the day the flags appeared, they told The New York Times.

Additional reporting by Associated Press