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Published: Thursday, 3/20/2014

Teen accused of gaining access to top of WTC

ASSOCIATED PRESS

NEW YORK — A 16-year-old boy bypassed security in the middle of the night and climbed to the top of 1 World Trade Center, the nation’s tallest building, where he apparently took pictures, police said today.

The teen was arrested at 6 a.m. Sunday and charged with misdemeanor criminal trespass, said Joe Pentangelo, a spokesman for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which owns the trade center site.

The teen got on the construction site of the nearly completed tower through a 1-foot opening in a fence, Pentangelo said. He then allegedly entered the tower by climbing scaffolding.

The teen eluded a guard on the 104th floor; the guard has since been fired, the spokesman said.

It was not immediately known how the teen got to the 104th floor without being noticed.

Port Authority police arrested him on the premises. His camera and cellphone were seized after authorities obtained a search warrant.

Authorities were still trying to determine the teen’s motive. WABC-TV reported that he took pictures from the top of the building, where he stayed for about two hours.

The investigation was continuing into whether the teen may have entered other parts of the building.

“We take security and these types of infractions very seriously and will prosecute violators,” Joe Dunne, chief security officer for the Port Authority, 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 tower is scheduled to open later this year.

When completed, the World Trade Center site will have a $40 million security system, including barriers, guard booths and sally ports, or double-barrier systems creating areas to check vehicles for dangerous materials.

In February, a judge rejected a lawsuit challenging the security plan brought by nearby residents who said it would burden their neighborhood with fortress-like security.



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