Cops: Russian strolled to top of B’klyn Bridge for cellphone pics

Cops: Russian strolled to top of B’klyn Bridge for cellphone pics
Photo by Stefano Giovannini

That’s no observation deck.

Police arrested a man they said climbed up a support cable of the Brooklyn Bridge on Sunday afternoon to take pictures from the top of the Brooklyn-side tower.

An officer saw Yaroslav Kolchin, a 24-year-old Russian who is staying at a Manhattan hotel, starting up the cable at 12:15 pm, and radioed for support, the authorities said. Police responded with air, boat, and ground units as the daring dope reached the top of the 276-foot tower, then walked back and forth on the deck taking pictures with his cellphone, cops said. A helicopter hovered next to Kolchin as he walked back down the same cable into the waiting arms of officers, who slapped cuffs on him at 12:38 pm, according to police.

Kolchin did not cause any damage or attempt to remove anything from the bridge, cops said. Prosecutors charged him with reckless endangerment, trespassing, and disorderly conduct. The former two charges are misdemeanors and the latter is a violation. The charges carry a maximum of a year in prison and a judge set Kolchin’s bail at $5,000 on Monday, according to police. The New York Daily News reported he could not muster the funds and so remained in jail on Monday afternoon.

Police ramped up bridge security temporarily last month, deploying counter-terror officers to the pedestrian path of the iconic span after German artists swapped the American flags at the top of each tower for white flags. Before the artists took credit, telling the New York Times they did it to honor Brooklyn Bridge designer John Roebling and herald the bridge as an example of “the beauty of public space,” speculation swirled about the identity of the culprits and their motive. Hours after police removed the white flags, Borough President Adams called the act terrorism and offered a $5,000 reward for information leading to the pranksters’ arrest.

The latest breach of bridge security prompted the Beep to call for heightened penalties for trespassers.

“It is clear that we are not doing enough to prevent foolish selfie-takers and statement-makers from putting themselves and others in harm’s way,” he said in a statement, adding that state Sen. Daniel Squadron (D–Brooklyn Heights) is introducing legislation to increase penalties for intrusions into “high risk” sites. “If someone wants to be a thrill seeker in Brooklyn, I suggest they try the rides in Coney Island.”

The high-wire act came three days after one or more activists hung a massive Palestinian-flag banner from the Manhattan Bridge during a protest against the Israeli bombardment of Gaza.

Reach reporter Matthew Perlman at (718) 260-8310. E-mail him at mperl‌man@c‌ngloc‌al.com. Follow him on Twitter @matthewjperlman.
Willing and cable: A gate is the only thing keeping thrill-seekers — and selfie-takers — from walking up the Brooklyn Bridge cables to the top of the iconic span, as a Russian tourist did on Sunday, according to police.
Photo by Stefano Giovannini