The Brooklyn Bridge experienced its third security breach in five months on Sunday, as a 23-year-old French tourist became the latest person arrested for clambering over the rails and climbing on one of the cables of the 131-year-old bridge, which is one of the city’s most prominent tourist attractions.
The man, identified as Yonatan Souid, faces criminal trespass and reckless endangerment charges. Souid said nothing as he was arrested – bowing his head as he was led into a police precinct Sunday afternoon after someone alerted police of a man taking pictures from one of the bridge’s cable beams, the Los Angeles Times reported.
— G.Alexander(BRKNEWS) (@MajorNews911) November 16, 2014
News of Souid’s arrest raised concerns from local officials and highlighted what seems to be ongoing problem with security on the bridge, which police say, has been under tightened security since the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks. The most infamous of those security breaches occurred in July when interlopers scaled one of the bridge towers and swapped two U.S. flags for white-painted flags.
A pair of German artists later claimed in email statements to be responsible for the well planned security breach. They were never arrested.
A month later, police arrested a 24-year-old Russian tourist after he was spotted ascending a support beam connected to the bridge tower on the Brooklyn side. The tourist, Yaroslav Kolchin, made it to the top of the tower, where he snapped some pictures before climbing down into the waiting arms of law enforcement.
Kolchin was charged with reckless endangerment and criminal trespass. Since then, he has returned to Moscow.
Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, speaking to radio station WCBS-AM (880) after the latest Brooklyn Bridge mishap, said he supports harsher penalties that would require jail time for people caught scaling the bridge and other city landmarks. “Penalties should be tougher, and that ensures tourists spend time in one of our greatest landmarks: Rikers Island,” Adams said, referring to the city’s main jail complex.
Criminal trespass and endangerment can be either classified as misdemeanors or felonies, depending on the circumstances. But in the case of bridge-climbers, they are typically prosecuted as misdemeanors.