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Teen Who Allegedly Managed To Sneak To Top Of 1 WTC Apologizes On Twitter

Justin Casquejo

Justin Casquejo, 16, allegedly trespassed and climbed to the top of 1 World Trade Center in the dead of night. (Credit: CBS 2)

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — The 16-year-old boy who allegedly bypassed security in the middle of the night and climbed a ladder to the spire of 1 World Trade Center and took pictures apologized Friday.

Justin Casquejo of Weehawken, N.J. posted his apology on Twitter.

“I seriously apologize to anyone who may have been insulted or felt disrespected by my actions. It was not my intention to do so,” Casquejo Tweeted.

Casquejo allegedly managed to not just get past the security and construction all around the new World Trade Center building. He got into an elevator and then climbed the stairs nearly another 20 flights to the spire, authorities said. Casquejo was only caught and questioned after spending more than an hour at the top of the tower taking pictures, according to authorities. 

He was arrested at 6 a.m. Sunday and charged with misdemeanor criminal trespass.

According to the complaint, Casquejo was quoted as telling 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 6th 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.”

He was arrested on the premises and his camera and cellphone were seized after authorities obtained a search warrant, said Joe Pentagelo, a spokesman for the Port Authority.

Pentagelo said Casquejo got onto the construction site of the nearly completed tower through a 1-foot opening in a fence. He eluded a security guard on the 104th floor; the guard has since been fired, Pentagelo said.

According to court papers, Casquejo was released without bail after being arraigned shortly after midnight Monday on one count of criminal trespass in the third degree and one count of trespass.

Casquejo’s trespassing charge carries a maximum penalty of 90 days in jail. But the consequences for him are still likely far less serious than the impact is likely to be on security at 1 World Trade Center.

The complaint said he was observed inside the tower beyond numerous posted signs that stated: “Do not enter. No trespassing. Violators will be prosecuted.”

Joe Dunne, chief security officer for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, issued a statement saying: “We take security and these types of infractions extremely seriously and will prosecute violators. We continue to reassess our security posture at the site and we are constantly working to make this site as secure as possible.”

Mayor Bill de Blasio was shocked by the incident.

“Obviously it’s shocking and troubling,” de Blasio said, “and I don’t know how it possibly could have happened.”

“They spent tens of millions of dollars in the security protocol for that site and obviously, it failed miserably, where a 16-year-old can simply go through a hole in the construction fence and make it up to the top of the tower,” said Manny Gomez of MG Security Services, and formerly of the NYPD and the FBI.

Casquejo is due back in court on April 2.

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(TM and © Copyright 2014 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2014 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)