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Police: Brooklyn Bridge flags back on U.S. soil

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NEW YORK (AP/CNN) - Police say the two American flags swiped from the Brooklyn Bridge and replaced with faded white ones are back on U.S. soil.

NYPD spokesman Sgt. Carlos Nieves said Friday that the flags are in the United States. He did not know their exact location.

Two German artists claimed responsibility earlier this month for the July 22 stunt.

Berlin-based Mischa Leinkauf and Mattias Wermke said they replaced the flags on top of the bridge with bleached-out versions as a tribute to public art and to the bridge's architect.

Published reports say the artists turned the original flags over to U.S. embassy officials in Germany.

In the words of the artists -- Matthias Wermke and Mischa Leinkauf -- the replacement of the Stars and Stripes fluttering above the bridge with two massive white flags last month was nothing more than an "art project" by the two performance artists meant to deal with "questions of historical legacy and art in the public sphere."

The flag switch raised questions about security on the bridge, one of New York's most visible landmarks.

It's still unclear what, if any charges, the artists will face, according to the official.