A Russian tourist who allegedly scaled the Brooklyn Bridge to snap a few photos told authorities he “did it for fun,” Assistant District Attorney Laurie Cartwright said Monday.
The tourist, 24-year-old Yaroslav Kolchin was charged with several offenses, including second degree reckless endangerment and third degree criminal trespass, according to the criminal complaint. Kolchin — wearing a gray hooded sweatshirt, denim shorts and holding a green hat with an owl logo — was held in lieu of $5,000 bail Monday afternoon.
Police allegedly saw Kolchin scale the support beam connected to the tower — past the security gate — at about 12:15 p.m. on Sunday. A large crowd of onlookers watched him allegedly climb the cable beam and walk back and forth on the landing before taking a few photos with his iPhone, police said.
Kolchin was 276 feet high at the time, Cartwright said.
This is the second security breech on the Brooklyn Bridge in as many months. In July, the American flags atop the Brooklyn Bridge's tower were replaced with white flags. A pair of German artists claimed responsibility for the stunt, saying they wanted to honor the bridge’s German engineer.
Mayor Bill de Blasio said he and Police Commissioner Bill Bratton are making security changes to city-controled bridges. Bratton is doing a “full scale review” of all security policies, de Blasio added at an unrelated news conference Monday.
“You can hold me accountable and Commissioner Bratton accountable,” he said. “We are in the process of making changes in the way we approach the bridges that are our responsibility. This individual should have known better. It was quite obvious it wasn't a place for an individual citizen to go. He was arrested very promptly.”
On Sunday, as a police helicopter hovered overhead, Kolchin allegedly climbed back down the same way he went up and was arrested about 20 minutes later, police said.
His lawyer, Paul Liu, said Kolchin was in New York as part of a tour group made up of strangers. He has no family in the U.S., he said.
“He would like to resolve this matter and go back home,” Liu said in Brooklyn Criminal Court. “However, he understands that the matter ... might not be resolved for quite some time.”
Kolchin recently graduated from a university in Russia and works there in an advertising firm, Liu said. The operators of the tour group reserved a room for Kolchin at a Bedford-Stuyvesant hostel, Liu said, but he did not anticipate him being able to make bail.
Kolchin's next court appearance will be Aug. 29.
In addition to July’s Brooklyn Bridge incident, a Palestinian flag was lowered from the Manhattan Bridge last week as a pro-Palestinian march made its way across the Brooklyn Bridge.
No arrests have been made in either incident.
(With Emily Ngo)