Officials: Cellphone images sought after teen's 1 WTC breach
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Port Authority police have seized the cellphone and camera of a New Jersey teenager to find out his motive for allegedly penetrating multiple layers of security over the weekend -- including NYPD street patrols -- to reach the top floors of 1 World Trade Center, officials said Thursday.
Justin Casquejo, 16, of Weehawken, was charged with misdemeanor criminal trespass after he was found in the building Sunday morning and admitting he "went to the rooftop and climbed the ladder all the way to the antenna," according to court papers.
The caper Casquejo allegedly pulled off has prompted police officials at the Port Authority to review security operations at the building, which is slated to open to tenants this year.
Casquejo, who reportedly has a fascination with the 104-story skyscraper, formerly known as the Freedom Tower, apparently got through a square-foot hole in a security fence about 4:10 a.m. Sunday, said Joseph Pentangelo, a spokesman for the agency's police department. Casquejo climbed up some scaffolding and made his way by elevator to the 104th floor, Pentangelo said.
A criminal court complaint filed in Manhattan state court charged that Casquejo took the elevator to the 88th floor and climbed stairs to the 104th floor. The antenna reaches 1,776 feet.
Pentangelo said Casquejo's camera and cellphone were seized pursuant to a search warrant in the hopes that images may show where the teenager went while in the building.
A spokesman for the Manhattan district attorney's office said Casquejo was released on his own recognizance late Sunday. He couldn't be reached for comment Thursday.
Pentangelo said when Casquejo got to the 104th floor, he encountered a guard for a company doing security for the Port Authority. The guard was fired for inattentiveness, Pentangelo said.
According to NYPD and Port Authority officials, city police have responsibility for security on the streets around the building while the bi-state agency has responsibility for security from the sidewalks into the building.
"We take security and these types of infractions extremely seriously and prosecute violators," said Port Authority police chief Joseph Dunne 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."