American Flags Stolen From Brooklyn Bridge To Be Returned To NYPD

August 22, 2014 | Sophie Weiner

German artists Matthias Wermke and Mischa Leinkauf, who claimed responsibility for swapping the Brooklyn Bridge’s American flags with flags bleached white, to U.S. officials at the U.S. embassy in Germany. According to CNN, they will be handed over to the NYPD today.

The artists maintain that they had no anti-American sentiment in mind with their art project, and merely wanted to bring up “questions of historical legacy and art in the public sphere.” 

Wermke and Leinkauf have also stated that their project was a tribute to the German architect John August Roebling, who designed the bridge.

“White American Flags” was meant in part as a tribute to the German-born American architect of the Brooklyn Bridge, John August Roebling, who left Germany in 1831 “in search of a better future in the land of freedom and opportunity,” the artists’ statement said.

As part of the investigation after the switch, intelligence analysts looked into any possible significance of the day that was chosen to see whether that would yield clues. The date turned out to be the 145th anniversary of Roebling’s death.

Despite tabloid panic and police threats, the artists have not yet been charged with any crimes, but they probably should stay out of NYC for a little while. (Photos: Mischa Leinkauf and Matthias Wermke)