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Teen pleads guilty in 1 World Trade Center climb

July 31, 2014

NEW YORK (AP) — A teenage daredevil who sneaked to the top of the 1 World Trade Center tower in New York pleaded guilty Wednesday in an escapade that increased concerns about security at the nation’s tallest building.

Justin Casquejo admitted breaking a city misdemeanor law against climbing tall buildings without permission. He’s expecting a sentence of 23 days of community service for his March climb.

Together, the cases prompted a security shake-up at the World Trade Center, one of the country’s most security-conscious sites after the 2001 terror attacks.

Casquejo’s lawyer, Pamela Griffith, declined to comment Wednesday. The teen is due to be sentenced in September.

Casquejo, a 16-year-old climbing enthusiast, slipped through a small gap in a construction fence and then used a ladder, scaffolding, elevators and stairs to scale the unfinished tower early on March 16, according to court papers. Along the way, he got by an inattentive security guard, authorities said.

“I was walking around all night trying to figure out how to enter” the site, knowing it was a no-trespassing zone, Casquejo later told a police officer, according to court papers.

After spending about two hours atop the symbolic 1,776-foot (541-meter) tower, Casquejo encountered a security guard as he descended.

After Casquejo’s climb, the building’s private head of security resigned, the guard Casquejo eluded was fired and the Port Authority brought in a company that guards its airports to handle security at trade center entrances and monitor security systems there.

The Port Authority declined to comment Wednesday.

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