16-year-old Justin Casquejo of Weehawken, NJ, was arrested on misdemeanor criminal trespassing charges after bypassing 1 World Trade Center security, authorities stated today. He proceeded to climb a ladder to the top of the skyscraper and took photos.
Police quoted Casquejo: "I walked around the construction site and figured out how to access the Freedom Tower rooftop. I found a way up through the scaffolding, climbed onto the 6th floor, and took the elevator up to the 88th floor. I then took the staircase up to 104th floor. I went to the rooftop and climbed the ladder all the way to the antenna."
The student was arrested on the property, which is set to open later this year. After a search warrant was granted his cellphone and camera were confiscated. Port Authority Spokesman Joe Pentagelo described how Casquejo accessed the tower via a construction site's 1-foot fence gap. He dodged a 104th floor security guard who has been terminated as a result. He was seen inside the tower with clearly hung signs declaring, "Do not enter. No trespassing. Violators will be prosecuted."
Court documents reveal that the teenager was arraigned promptly after 12:00 a.m. Monday morning and released without bail, with one count of trespass and one count of third degree criminal trespass. These illegal acts are punishable by up to 15 days of jail time and up to three months in jail respectively. The report stated: "The defendant knowingly entered and remained unlawfully in a building and upon real property which was fenced and otherwise enclosed in a manner designed to exclude intruders". It remains to be seen if Casquejo entered any other locations of the superstructure.
The World Trade Center location will implement a $40 million dollar security system when completed, after two terrorist attacks on the original structures. Port Authority Chief Security Officer Joe Dunne issued the following statement after the incident: "We take security and these types of infractions very seriously and will prosecute violators...We continue to reassess our security posture at the site and are constantly working to make this site as secure as possible."
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