A New Jersey teenager, 16, was arrested at 6 a.m. on Sunday and charged with trespassing after managing to get past security to reach the top of the new World Trade Center, police said Thursday.
Justin Casquejo, of Weehawken, N.J., 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's motive is under investigation.
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 it appears that the teen 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.
Casquejo was quoted in the criminal complaint as telling the 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 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."
When he was arrested, the teen had a cellphone and camera on him, which were seized and are being 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."
The teen was released without bail after being arraigned shortly after midnight Monday. His next court date is set for April 2.
The teen tweeted on March 16 from Manhattan, N.Y.: "A long way from home."