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Teen charged after reaching World Trade Center spire

A New Jersey teenager wiggled through a security fence and then made his way past a guard to the spire atop New York's 1 World Trade Center, the nation's tallest building, where he took pictures before he was apprehended, officials said Thursday.

The boy, who authorities said was being treated as an adult, was charged with misdemeanor criminal trespass in the Sunday morning stunt and faces up to a year in jail if convicted.

Officials identified him as Justin Casquejo, 16, of Weehawken, N.J. He was being held without bail.

"We take security and these types of infractions very seriously and will prosecute violators," said Joseph Dunne, chief security officer for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which owns the site.

The World Trade Center was a target of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks but has since been rebuilt. Colloquially known as Freedom Tower, 1 World Trade Center is the primary building in the complex and is scheduled to open this summer. Its spire reaches the symbolic height of 1,776 feet, to mark the year of the Declaration of Independence.

The teen squeezed through a 1-foot-by-1-foot opening in the security fence around the site and entered the building about 4 a.m. Sunday, officials said.

According to a criminal complaint, the teen told 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 sixth 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."

On the top floor, the teen walked past what officials said was an "inattentive" private security guard, who has since been dismissed.

The boy was seized at the site, along with a camera and a cellphone, which have been confiscated and will be searched for pictures, officials said.

1 World Trade Center in Manhattan is scheduled to open in the summer. 

Associated Press

1 World Trade Center in Manhattan is scheduled to open in the summer. 

Teen charged after reaching World Trade Center spire 03/20/14 [Last modified: Thursday, March 20, 2014 8:46pm]

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