Police investigate teen's motive in WTC trespassing

Police investigate teen's motive in WTC trespassing

Credit: Getty Images

NEW YORK, NY - MAY 16: A rose stands at the 9/11 Memorial as One World Trade Center (TOP C), now the tallest building in the United States, continues to be constructed on May 16, 2013 in New York City. After more than 11 years of construction and planning, One World Trade Center reached its final height of 1,776 feet last week. When it opens for business in 2014, One World Trade center will be home to companies including Conde Nast and Vantone Holdings China Center. One World Trade Center is built on the site where the September 11, 2001 attacks toppled the original World Trade Center towers. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)


by Jessica Durando, USA TODAY Network


Posted on March 20, 2014 at 6:57 PM

Updated Thursday, Mar 20 at 6:59 PM

NEW YORK - Police are investigating why a New Jersey teenager, 16, trespassed in the middle of the night inside 1 World Trade Center, also known as Freedom Tower, after getting past security.
Justin Casquejo of Weehawken, N.J., was arrested at 6 a.m. Sunday.

He allegedly crawled through a 12-by-12-inch hole in the exterior fence, climbed the scaffolding and gained access to the interior of the building, Joe Pentangelo, a spokesman for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which owns the Trade Center site, told USA TODAY Network.
The teen evaded an "inattentive" guard, who has since been fired, on the 104th floor, Pentangelo said.

Port Authority police arrested him inside the skyscraper. Pentangelo said the teen apparently got through the fence at 4:10 a.m. The misdemeanor charges include one count of criminal trespass in the third degree and one count of trespass, according to the criminal complaint.

The teen was arraigned shortly after midnight Monday. He was released on his own recognizance, and no bail was set. His next court date is set for April 2.

Casquejo was quoted in the criminal complaint as telling a Port Authority police officer, "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 sixth 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."

When he was arrested, the teen had a cellphone and camera on him, which were seized and searched by police after they obtained a search warrant.

"We take security and these type of infractions extremely seriously and will prosecute violators," Joseph Dunne, chief security officer for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, 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 complaint said Casquejo was observed inside the Freedom Tower building beyond signs that said, "Do not enter. No trespassing. Violators will be prosecuted."

According to the criminal complaint, "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."

The teen tweeted March 16 from Manhattan: "A long way from home."

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