NYPD gathering evidence in Brooklyn Bridge flag prank


Police in New York City are said to be examining some 18,000 license plate numbers, looking through social media, poring over cell phone communications, and possibly collecting DNA in an investigation into who climbed the Brooklyn Bridge late at night to plant two bleached-white American flags.

Officers are looking for "a skateboarder and four others" believed to be in their late teens or early 20s. Investigators have not had luck in using facial recognition software on security footage gathered from the site.

Tabloid publications NY Daily News and NY Post say NYPD have gathered DNA evidence from the bridge.

"There were reports that DNA had been found on the bridge, though they could not be confirmed, reports the New York Times.

"Even if DNA had been found, the official said, it was unlikely it could generate any significant leads."

From New York Magazine:

Here's what they know so far: The lights went out at 3:29 a.m. on Tuesday after they were covered with some aluminum lasagna pans. Security footage showed a group of four or five guys in the “late teens or early 20s,” one with a skateboard, nearby around that time, the Daily News reported. Those are the prime suspects. And according to the New York Post, a bit of DNA was left on the zip ties used to secure the light-blocking pans, the most promising clue yet.

An interesting aside about that facial recognition technology. The same NYPD division in charge of that program was the subject of this Miles O'Brien PBS NewsHour piece last year. NYPD says in the piece that it doesn't gather images from social media or drivers' licenses to use in the system, but it's hard to take that claim seriously.

Notable Replies

  1. Sounds like a perfectly reasonable use of law enforcement resources.


  2. They should have some sort of UV-reactive paint that turns the flags into "For Sale" signs after a few days...

  3. Glad to know all the thefts, rapes and murders have been solved in NYC. It must now be the safest place on earth.

  4. You don't understand, we spend 4.6 billion dollars a year with an anti-terrorism task force that rivals the FBI. What these punks, these, , these... ruffians, have done is besmirch their fine work and make a mockery of this spending.

    If scalawags like these can accomplish the nefarious task of changing a flag out without being caught and found guilty, imagine what a jihad terrorist group with funding and the willpower could accomplish!

    Why, they might try to burn through all the wire ropes with a blow torch! Or try to blow up a trunk of propane tanks! We have no choice but to fund the local variant of the Motherland Security Force in perpetuity and do what we can in the name of safety!

  5. "NYPD says in the piece that it doesn't gather images from social media or drivers' licenses to use in the system, but it's hard to take that claim seriously."

    With stuff like this taking up time and resources, it's hard to take NYPD seriously about anything.

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