A New Jersey teen squeezed through a security fence and made 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 caught, officials said Thursday.
The teen, who authorities said is being treated as an adult, was charged with 1 misdemeanor criminal trespass charge after his Sunday morning shenanigan and faces up to one year in jail if convicted.
Officials identified the boy 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 is infamously known for being one of the targets of the Sept. 11, 2011 Al Qaeda terrorist attack, but has since been rebuilt. Known as Freedom Tower 1 of the World Trade Center, it is the primary building in the complex and is scheduled to open this summer. Its spire reaches a height of 1,776 feet, symbolic in that it marks the year of the U.S. Declaration of Independence.
The boy squeezed through a 1-foot-by-1-foot opening in the security fence around the site and entered the building at approximately 4 a.m. Sunday, officials said.
According to a criminal complaint released, the teen was quoted 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.”