Russian tourist charged in NY with reckless endangerment in Brooklyn Bridge climb

The Associated Press
August 25, 2014 10:33 AM

Yaroslav Kolchin, center, is arraigned in Brooklyn Criminal Court, Monday, Aug. 25, 2014, in the Brooklyn borough of New York. Kolchin a Russian tourist has been accused of climbing to the top of the Brooklyn Bridge and is facing reckless endangerment and trespass charges. (AP Photo/The Daily News, Alec Tabak, Pool)

NEW YORK, N.Y. - A Russian tourist climbed to the top of the Brooklyn Bridge to take pictures for fun in the New York City landmark's second security breach in a month, authorities said Monday.

Yaroslav Kolchin was charged with reckless endangerment, trespassing and disorderly conduct.

Police said they spotted the 24-year-old ascending a cable at about 12:15 p.m. (Sunday. Authorities say the Moscow man reached the top of the tower, took pictures with his smartphone and was arrested as he descended.

He told police he did it for fun, according to a court complaint.

On July 22, two American flags were swiped from the bridge and replaced with white ones, prompting security concerns. Two German artists took credit for the stunt. Their comments and the case are still being investigated by police, who have not arrested anyone in the flag swap, New York Police Department spokesman Detective James Duffy said in an email.

Prosecutors Kolchin's his arrest required a "high allocation of resources." He posed a danger to the high volume of pedestrians gathered who passed beneath him on a warm and sunny Sunday afternoon, they said.

Mayor Bill de Blasio said the city is launching a "full scale review" of security at the bridge but assured New Yorkers that they are 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 city is boosting security at the bridge — and the three other East River crossings under its jurisdiction — by authorizing additional police foot and scooter patrols, installing more signage marking restricted areas and enhancing physical barriers to deter climbers, according to an administration official who was not authorized to speak publicly on matters of security and spoke on condition of anonymity.

The NYPD and the Department of Transportation are also installing a network of cameras and sensors along the bridges' towers, the official said.

A recent graduate from a Russian university, Kolchin works in advertising, he told his lawyer, Paul Liu, through a Russian translator. He was visiting New York with a tour group, but the group has returned to Russia.

Kolchin was being held on $5,000 bond after his arraignment Monday in Brooklyn and ordered to hand his passport over to prosecutors. Liu told Judge Raymond Rodriguez that Kolchin did not expect to make bail. The attorney declined to comment on the case to reporters.

Kolchin's next hearing was scheduled for Aug. 29.

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Associated Press staff writer Jonathan Lemire contributed to this report.


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