This morning's audacious Brooklyn Bridge capture-and-replace-the-flag operation was, at the least, a two-person job that apparently was launched some time after 3 AM.
Based on recordings from a webcam pointed at the span, the flag bearers first reached the bridge’s eastern tower (which is closer to Brooklyn) around 3:35, when spotlights illuminating the flag were either shut or somehow doused. Seven minutes later, at 3:42, the flag atop the bridge’s western tower--nearest to Manhattan--also went dark.
The spotlights illuminating each flag do not appear to go back on during the hours before dawn, according to the EarthCam recordings. This morning, motorists and pedestrians began reporting that the two American flags had been replaced with white flags usually associated with surrender.
The distance between the two towers, as well as the time it takes to walk up a narrow cable catwalk leading to the individual towers, makes it impossible for a single person to have pulled off the stunt.
The above images show the flag closest to Manhattan lit up, and then, seconds later, shrouded in darkness at 3:42 AM.
During a press conference late this afternoon, New York Police Department officials said they they are investigating the stunt and pledged to identify and prosecute those responsible. NYPD Deputy Intelligence Commissioner John Miller said that cops do not consider the flag operation art, but rather a matter of criminal trespass. Miller added that investigators are analyzing the seized flags, which each measure 20-foot-by-11-foot.