Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

MacDill trespasser spent weekend in congressman's office in 2003

Federal prosecutors say Suzanne Jensen has sneaked into MacDill four times since late 2012.

Federal prosecutors say Suzanne Jensen has sneaked into MacDill four times since late 2012.

TAMPA — Suzanne M. Jensen apparently doesn't find post-Sept. 11 government security as daunting as most Americans.

The homeless woman charged with sneaking into MacDill Air Force Base four times since 2012 was arrested by U.S. Capitol police in 2003 after she thwarted security and spent a weekend in a congressman's office.

The arrest wasn't mentioned Wednesday during a brief hearing in Tampa where a federal judge ordered a mental competency hearing for Jensen for the MacDill charges for Aug. 21.

That's Jensen's 51st birthday.

Capitol police said Jensen simply walked into the unlocked office of Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., at the Capitol's Longworth building during business hours on a Friday in 2003. Nobody spotted her.

Jensen wasn't disturbed until Sunday afternoon, published reports of the incident said, when a staffer for Nunes couldn't get into the office.

Jensen had locked the door. The staffer called police.

"We know she must have been there quite awhile because she ate everything we had in the refrigerator," Nunes told the Visalia (Calif.) Times-Delta.

Jensen was charged with unlawful entry, according to 2003 stories by the Times-Delta and USA Today. The disposition of the case could not be immediately determined.

Federal prosecutors charged Jensen in June for trespassing on MacDill four times since Oct. 1. In one instance, Jensen told security officers she entered the high-security installation by simply using an overturned trash can to climb a wall.

But Jensen wasn't arrested on a federal warrant for those charges until July 29 by the El Paso County Sheriff's Office in Colorado Springs, Colo.

Details about how deputies found Jensen were unavailable, said sheriff's officials there.

Jensen is being held without bail pending her competency hearing. A federal prosecutor told federal Magistrate Judge Anthony Porcelli that she had reason to believe Jensen wasn't able to understand legal proceedings against her.

Jensen's public defender, Stephen Baer, told the judge that the case may have "national security implications." But he did not explain, and lawyers declined to comment afterward.

Jensen has a history of entering military bases. In August 2012, she pleaded guilty to trespassing for illegally entering Fort Myer in Virginia. She was sentenced to time served. In 2007, she was charged with illegally entering Fort Bragg and Pope Air Force Base, both in North Carolina. Charges were later dismissed.

Why Jensen traveled to Colorado is a mystery.

Colorado Springs happens to be the home of the U.S. Air Force Academy, the alma mater of MAcDill commander Col. Scott DeThomas.

Times researcher John Martin contributed to this report. William R. Levesque can be reached at or (813) 226-3432

MacDill trespasser spent weekend in congressman's office in 2003 08/07/13 [Last modified: Wednesday, August 7, 2013 11:35pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Editorial: Trump assaults rule of law by attacking attorney general


    Jeff Sessions was a terrible choice for attorney general, and the policies he has pursued in his brief tenure — cracking down on immigrants, bullying sheriffs, prosecuting low-level offenders to the max — are counterproductive. But the stinging personal attacks President Donald Trump leveled at Sessions this …

    The stinging personal attacks President Donald Trump leveled at Attorney General Jess Sessions this week assault the integrity of the Department of Justice and the rule of law.
  2. Iowa group sues United over death of giant rabbit, Simon


    DES MOINES, Iowa — A group of Iowa businessmen filed a lawsuit Wednesday against United Airlines over the death of Simon, a giant rabbit whose lifeless body was discovered in a kennel after a flight from London to Chicago.

    In this May 8, 2017 file photo, attorney Guy Cook speaks a news conference while looking at a photo of Simon, a giant rabbit that died after flying from the United Kingdom to Chicago, in Des Moines, Iowa. A group of Iowa businessmen have filed a lawsuit against United Airlines over the death of Simon. The businessmen filed the lawsuit Wednesday, July 26, 2017, more than three months after airline workers found the continental rabbit named Simon dead. [AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall]
  3. Elderly Brooksville woman dies in Wednesday crash


    BROOKSVILLE — An 87-year-old woman died following a Wednesday morning car crash, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.

  4. As Dow hits new high, Raymond James Financial reports record financial gains


    On the same day that the Dow closed at new highs, investment firm Raymond James Financial reported record revenues and earnings for its fiscal third quarter that ended June 30.

    Raymond James Financial CEO Paul Reilly unveiled record quarterly revenues and earnings for the St. Petersburg-based investment firm. [Courtesy of Raymond James Financial]
  5. 5 things to know about the Senate's bid to unwind the Affordable Care Act


    Senate Republicans undertook the first steps in their plan to repeal the Affordable Care this week, launching a process they hope will yield a GOP health-care bill by week's end.

    Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., talks with reporters as he walks to the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday in Washington. Corker was one of nine republican senators to vote against the health care bill in the Senate. The U.S. Senate will continue debate on the Better Care Reconciliation Act. [Photo by Justin Sullivan | Getty Images]