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CBS 2 Exclusive: Armed Guard Caught Sleeping At Lower Manhattan Federal Building

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A security guard was supposed to be protecting a high-profile spot in Lower Manhattan, but a CBS 2 viewer caught him asleep on the job.

As CBS 2’s Hazel Sanchez reported exclusively, the armed guard was hired to protect the Jacob K. Javits Federal Office Building on Foley Square. But during one shift, he was evidently more focused on taking a nap, Sanchez reported.

“We’re in the world that, unfortunately, we have to watch out for everything that we do and have vigilant eyes,” said Fernando Penate, of the Bronx. “And this is not acceptable.”

A man walking by recorded the guard nodding off just before 5 a.m. on a recent day. He asked not to be identified.

“I was in disbelief, because there’re so many people out there … a lot of competent people out there who are looking for employment who can’t find employment,” he said. “But here it is, you have these guys who do have the jobs, who are not taking the job seriously.”

The sleeping security guard works for FJC Security Services. The company is contracted to guard the complex in Federal Plaza, which houses not only the FBI, but also the Department of Homeland Security.

FJC Security quickly issued a response.

“We take these allegations seriously and have launched an immediate investigation into the matter,” the company said. “The guard has been suspended pending this investigation and will not return to this site.”

Some people expressed some sympathy for the guard.

“People have lives, and you never know why they fall asleep. They could have had a long day,” said Mickelle Damassia, of Huntington, Long Island. “So a lot needs to be looked into as to why that man is so sleepy that he feels comfortable enough to fall asleep at such an important job.”

But others said action is needed right away.

“This is serious,” a man said. “They have to do something about it. This is the citizens’ safety, and their whole well-being at stake.”

Interestingly, printed on the guardhouse window is a message reading, “Please do not disturb the guards.”

In this case, even a passerby standing just a foot away could not interrupt the guard’s nap.

“People’s lives are at stake here. This is not a job where you can be lackadaisical,” the man who shot the video said. “You have to take your job serious.”

The man who took the video claimed he saw two others guards at Federal Plaza sleeping on the job on the same morning, but did not get video of them.

CBS 2 reached out to the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security, but had not heard back late Thursday.

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