Teen charged after reaching World Trade Center spire

Boy who allegedly wiggled through security fence and made way past guard is being prosecuted as an adult.
MCT Regional News
Mar 21, 2014

A New Jersey teenager managed to wiggle through a security fence then make his way past a guard to the spire atop 1 World Trade Center, the nation’s tallest building, where he took pictures before he was apprehended, officials said Thursday.

The boy, who authorities said was being treated as an adult, was charged with misdemeanor criminal trespass in the Sunday morning stunt and faces up to a year in jail if convicted.

Officials identified him as Justin Casquejo, 16, of Weehawken, N.J.

“We take security and these types of infractions very seriously and will prosecute violators,” Joseph Dunne, chief security officer for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which owns the site, said in a statement. “We continue to reassess our security posture at the site and are constantly working to make this site as secure as possible.”

The World Trade Center was one of the targets of an al-Qaida terrorist attack on Sept. 11, 2001, but has since been rebuilt. Colloquially known as Freedom Tower 1 World Trade Center is the primary building in the complex and is scheduled to open in the summer. Its spire reaches the symbolic height of 1,776 feet, to mark the year of the U.S. Declaration of Independence.

The teenager squeezed through a 1-foot-by-1-foot opening in the security fence around the site and entered the building about 4 a.m. Sunday, officials said.

According to a criminal complaint, the teen was quoted as telling police:

“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.”

At the top floor, the teen walked past what officials said was “an inattentive” private security guard, who has since been dismissed.

The boy was seized at the site along with a camera and a cellphone, which have been confiscated and will be searched for pictures, officials said.

He was released without bail shortly after midnight Monday on one count of third-degree criminal trespass and one count of trespass.

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By Michael Muskal - Los Angeles Times (MCT)

©2014 Los Angeles Times

Visit the Los Angeles Times at www.latimes.com

Distributed by MCT Information Services

Comments

NWalk99

Charging him as an adult is one of the dumbest things I have ever heard. If a juvenile broke into my house and did not harm anyone - he would not be charged as an adult. This is simply a way of discriminating against the poor and or less fortunate. You do not care if someone trespasses on their property or at their business. However since they clearly value this building more than anyone else - it becomes time to try a kid as an adult...this world is just failing the citizens over and over again!

JMOP

How do you know he's poor and of the less unfortunate?

ladydye_5

This is something he does (along with his buddies) on a regular basis. He has done the same thing in numerous buildings in NYC. He should be charged. As an adult, I do not care one way or another. He thought it out, very well too. Even wore a hard hat to "blend in". Would you have a different comment if he had planted a bomb? Or jumped off? Shot the sleeping security guard dead? Where were his parents? Why was a 16 year old out at 4 am? Charge his parents too.

NWalk99

I don't know if he is poor or less fortunate. I do know that there is endless financial resources for the Freedom Tower - therefore, making their complaint seemingly more important. When finances and public support is unlimited - the cards are not stacked fairly in the defendants court - unless of course he is as financially well off and as popular with the press. Simply saying....if an unarmed juvenile took pictures from my house when I was not there, I highly doubt he would be charged as an adult....

luvblues2

If anything, he helped them find a flaw in their system. They should pay him.

Cliff Cannon

@luvblues2 : Amen

TrollingMotors

Shouldnt those in charge of 'Security' be charged with negligence?

No wonder the building was brought down. You got people making bank supposedly in charge of security yet nobody can keep it secure.

Another embarrassment.

bluedot

The people who should be charged are those who weren't paying attention in the first place(the word negligence comes to mind). If they had we wouldn't be talking about yet another negative mark to the same system that has once again failed to secure . What if it had been someone else who wanted more than just a thrill??? Hmmm...smh.