An investigation is underway after police say two American flags on top of the Brooklyn Bridge were apparently bleached white. NY1's Jose Martinez filed the following report.
Old Glory is back where it belongs: high atop both Brooklyn Bridge towers.
Now, police want to know just who put these two white flags in their place very early Tuesday morning? And how?
"Around 3:30 in the morning, the light that normally illuminates the American flag on the Brooklyn side of the bridge first flickers, then appears to go out. At 3:42 a.m., the same thing occurs on the Manhattan tower," said Intelligence and Counterterrorism Deputy Commissioner John Miller.
Construction workers noticed the switch around 5:30 a.m., and emergency service officers were called in.
"What they found were two flags, one on each tower, that were approximately 20 feet by 11 feet that are actually appear to be American flags with stars and stripes that had been bleached white," Miller said.
Also found? Large pans that apparently served to block the lights on the tower, which are behind locked gates.
"There's some indication of some good deal of pre-operational planning, perhaps some indication that they have experience climbing, in construction or in bridgework—or that they may have actually been up there before," Miller said.
While police say the apparent stunt doesn't appear to have sinister ties, New Yorkers walking across the city's best-known bridge say they'd like to see its structures a little more off-limits.
"It was a little bit scary. My first reaction was, 'Oh, I don't know if that's safe,'" one woman said.
"I just kind of assumed it was an artist or somebody trying to make a statement or pulling a prank," one man said.
Police say they're checking out video that shows four or five people crossing the bridge just before the lights went out and the white flags went up.
Investigators say they'll also be checking out Twitter, Facebook and other social media to see if anybody went online to boast about how they managed to get a city landmark to fly the white flag.