James Whittemore Says His Family Has Struggled With Alcoholism For Years

ENFIELD, Conn. (CBSNewYork) — The New York City man who broke into and vandalized the lobby of the Ed Sullivan Theater last weekend said he can’t remember the incident, and offered a public apology to the people at the “Late Show with David Letterman” for damaging their studio lobby.

James Whittemore spoke to CBS 2’s Lou Young about his shock and disbelief over the vandalism spree that he said he can’t remember.

“That’s not me,” Whittemore said. “I mean, how is that me?”

Whittemore said he still can’t believe his eyes after his drunken rampage was caught on surveillance video at the Ed Sullivan Theater. That, he said, happened during a booze blackout.

ed sullivan theater rampage NYC Man Offers Letterman An Apology After Drunken Rampage At Ed Sullivan Theater

Surveillance cameras captured 22-year-old James Whittemore's rampage after breaking into the Ed Sullivan Theater in Manhattan. (Credit: CBS 2)

“The only thing I remember is I was laying on the floor in the lobby, looking out, and I saw all the cop cars,” Whittemore said. “I looked around and I was shocked. I was just hoping there was somebody else there with me, but I was by myself.”

The 22-year-old aspiring singer said he’s staying dry at his uncle’s home. He said he never drank until college, and it took less than four years for alcohol to nearly drown his dreams after a night of karaoke bar-hopping.

“Drinking kind of just overtook what I was going out to do,” Whittemore said. “If I’m going out to sing, I should just be going out to sing. Instead, I’m going out to drink while singing.”

Whittemore’s uncle said he hopes the incident will be a wake-up call.

“If it wasn’t the Ed Sullivan Theater and he blacked out, you guys wouldn’t have been here,” Mike Reilly said. “He could’ve been in a car crash and killed somebody.”

Whittemore wanted to apologize to Letterman, specifically.

“I am sincerely, really, really sorry,” he said. “I’m glad that he could continue to go on with the show… and I promise to definitely repay all the damage that I’ve done to the theater at all.”

Whittemore, who has already pleaded guilty, has a court date in Manhattan on Friday. Until then, he’s working in his uncle’s backyard during the day – and attending Alcoholics Anonymous meetings at night.

Whittemore and his uncle said members of their family have struggled with alcoholism for generations. Reilly said he gave up drinking 20 years ago.

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