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Thursday
Aug212014

Stolen Brooklyn Bridge Flags Returned to US Officials -- In Germany

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- The flags taken off the Brooklyn Bridge and swapped for white surrender flags have been handed over to U.S. officials, a law enforcement official told ABC News Thursday.

The handover took place far from the iconic landmark, however: it happened in Germany. The flags were given to the U.S. embassy a week after Mischa Leinkauf and Mattias Wermke, artists in that country, identified themselves as having perpetrated the stunt that became a national news sensation.

"They returned the flags to the embassy. There has been no determination on charges," the law enforcement official said.

 The artists said last week that the Brooklyn Bridge stunt was intended as a celebration of public art and not as any political statement.

The Berlin-based duo said that the flags that they put on top of the bridge were not bleached white but were made of white material and then hand-stitched so that it was done in "Old Glory" style with white stars and stripes. They said that they followed U.S. Flag Code in their handling of the American flags that they took down.

Prosecutors in New York could still pursue felony burglary charges against the duo, which could lead to the issuing of an international arrest warrant. Authorities also "have some significant leads" as to the people who assisted the Germans in their stunt in the U.S. The American accomplices are still being pursued.

New York Police Department officials are taking the flag return as a sign of "good faith" that the stunt was, "some sort of artistic thing or stunt," as opposed to a serious threat or attempt to scare American citizens, the law enforcement official said.

It is believed that the artists realized how serious this was and how much trouble they were in when NY Police Commissioner Bill Bratton announced on WABC's Sunday show Up Close with Diana Williams that investigators knew who the perpetrators were.


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