Badass 16-Year-Old Parkourist Justin Casquejo Climbs One World Trade Center

Casquejo, "Back on that parkour flow."
Casquejo, "Back on that parkour flow."

11:27 am: This post has been updated throughout.

One World Trade Center has a security system estimated back in 2008 to cost at least $20 million (a figure that has since doubled to $40 million) -- "a state-of-the-art integrated security system that includes closed-circuit television, coupled with video analytics to detect abnormal situations; digital recorders; access control systems; provisions for chemical, biological and radiation detection; a fiber-optic backbone and network; and related electrical infrastructure."

All that hardware, though, doesn't mean much if the guard on duty is sleeping, which, the guard on duty apparently was early Sunday morning when 16-year-old Justin Casquejo of Weehawken, New Jersey, slipped past him.

At abput 4:10 a.m., according to Port Authority Police spokesman Joe Pentangelo, Casquejo "climbed through a one foot square opening, which is in the exterior construction fence surrounding the World Trade Center. He is able to enter undetected by climbing scaffolding.

"Somehow he is able to gain access to the interior of the building, and he encounters a security guard on the 104th floor." The security guard, Pentangelo says delicately, "has been characterized as inattentive during this incident." (Translation: He was fired.)

Casquejo was in One World Trade Center for almost two hours before he was arrested by Port Authority Police at 6 a.m. According to the criminal complaint, Casquejo told the arresting officer he climbed all the way to the antenna before they caught up with him. The officers seized Casquejo's camera and a cell phone.

...Which means this Instagram, which at least one user credited to Casquejo this morning, was very likely not shot by Casquejo. (Additionally, there does not appear to be any link between that Instagram account and Casquejo's Twitter, and the photo looks suspiciously similar to one grabbed from Time Magazine's gigapan.)

Casquejo did take this photo, with One World Trade in the background, from the top of a crane in Hoboken a few weeks ago.

 Casquejo was released after his arraignment on Monday, March 17.

Justin, you just climbed the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere, what do you have to say?

He has been charged with criminal trespassing in the the third degree, and an additional trespassing violation.

In the criminal complaint, Casquejo describes in his own words exactly how he breached One World Trade: "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 to the 104th floor. I went up to the rooftop and climbed the ladder all the way to the antenna."

Joseph Dunne, chief security officer of the Port Authority of New Jersey, says, "We take security, and these types of infractions, extremely seriously and we'll 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."

Casquejo is out now, but while he was in custody a "Save Ferris"-esque campaign, #FreeJustin, spread on Twitter.

Send story tips to the author, Tessa Stuart

Sponsor Content


All-access pass to top stories, events and offers around town.

Sign Up >

No Thanks!

Remind Me Later >