Two German artists have come forward, claiming to being the pranksters who scaled the Brooklyn Bridge and replaced a pair of American flags with two plain white flags. That stunt, which apparently took place in the wee hours of July 22, sent the New York City Police Department into a tizzy to uncover those responsible.
The New York Times' head architecture critic, Michael Kimmelman, received a phone call from the artists, identified as Mischa Leinkauf and Matthias Wermke, who told him the act was neither terrorism-related nor carried any hint of anti-American sentiment.
They said they intend to return the flags and explained how they got up on top of the bridge in the first place. From the Times: "They said they carried the white flags in backpacks up the climbing cables that workers and the police use to reach the towers, and did not see security cameras. They would not say whether other people were involved."
The artists even provided the paper with video footage presumably shot atop the bridge on the night of the prank.
As recently as Aug. 8, the Manhattan District Attorney's office issued a subpoena to the creators of the parody Twitter account @BicycleLobby after the person behind the handle jokingly claimed responsibility for swapping the flags. NYPD commissioner William Bratton indicated at the time that authorities had "a very good idea" of who had pulled off the stunt, but did not provide any further details.
Others have come forward to claim responsibility. On July 31, a marijuana activist took credit for the stunt, per the New York Daily News. However, an unnamed law enforcement cast doubt on the presumed confession. "I doubt this guy's story has a lot of credibility," the source said, per the Daily News.