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June 24, 2017

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Russian tourist arrested for scaling Brooklyn Bridge

NEW YORK--A Russian tourist has been arrested and charged after scaling New York's iconic Brooklyn Bridge to take pictures with his cell phone, authorities said Monday.

Yaroslav Kolchin, sporting a backpack, shorts and baseball cap, was spotted climbing to the top of one of the towers supporting the mighty structure shortly after midday on Sunday.

Once there, the 24-year-old walked around and took photos with his iPhone before safely descending back down a cable support beam as a police aviation unit hovered nearby.

He was subsequently taken into custody, with charges against him including criminal trespassing and reckless endangerment, according to a police statement.

Following his arraignment in Brooklyn on Monday, he was held on a US$5,000 bond.

His next hearing is scheduled for Friday.

Police said Kolchin — who came to the United States with a tour group — did not cause any damage or attempt to remove anything from the famous landmark, adding that no injuries were reported.

The incident marks the second time in weeks that security at the Brooklyn Bridge has been breached.

Earlier this month, two German artists — Mischa Leinkauf and Matthias Wermke — claimed responsibility for a pair of big white flags that turned up atop the bridge in place of the U.S. stars and stripes one night in July.

The sudden appearance of the flags in a city highly sensitive to security risks sparked a probe in which police ruled out any terrorist link but stepped up security around key bridges.

The prank was aimed at honoring "the beauty of public space" and celebrating the span designed by a German-born engineer who died in 1869 on July 22 — the day the flags appeared, they told The New York Times.

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