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Four men arrested in One World Trade Center jump stunt

CNN
Wednesday, March 26, 2014 - 8:49am

Four New York-area men were arrested Monday after a BASE jumping stunt from atop One World Trade Center in September, police said.

The charges against James Brady, Kyle Hartwell, Marko Markovich and Andrew Rossig included burglary, reckless endangerment and jumping from a structure, according to a statement issued by NYPD Commissioner William Bratton.

"These men violated the law and placed themselves, as well as others, in danger," Bratton said. "These arrests should send a message to anyone thinking about misusing a landmark this way."

Three of the men are accused of climbing the nation's tallest building on September 30 and parachuting more than 1,300 feet off the skyscraper, said attorney Timothy Parlatore, who is representing Rossig. Hartwell is accused of keeping lookout at the BASE of the tower during the stunt, Parlatore said.

Video footage of the early morning jump shows the men deploying their parachutes and flying down to a secluded spot on a nearby highway, according to Parlatore, who said he's seen the video.

"They were very professional, very controlled. There was nothing haphazard or reckless about it,"he said.

At the time of the incident, Brady was a construction worker assigned to work at the One World Trade Center site, police said.

The men snuck into the area through a hole in a fence, said Parlatore.

"One of the first things my client said to me was that how surprised he was at how there was no security whatsoever -- how easy it was to just walk right up there in something that the mayor has just recently described as the No. 1 terrorist target in the world," he said.

Investigators reviewed video footage from around One World Trade Center, as well as other electronic and photographic evidence.

A search of the men's homes last month produced video footage of the jump, police said.

One World Trade Center is rising in the shadows of the original World Trade Center, where the twin towers were felled by two hijacked airplanes on September 11, 2001, in the deadliest terrorist attack on U.S. soil.

The charges come less than a week after a 16-year-old boy from New Jersey was arrested on trespassing charges at the skyscraper. Justin Casquejo is accused of sneaking past security and climbing to the top of the building.

Police said Casquejo also snuck in through a hole in a fence to get into the One World Trade Center site.

It is unclear whether it was the same hole in a fence that the BASE jumpers said they used, said Parlatore. BASE is an acronym for Base/Antenna/Span/Earth.

It was not known Monday night when the men would be arraigned.

"The Port Authority joins the NYPD in condemning this lawless and selfish act that clearly endangered the public," Port Authority Chief Security Officer Joseph Dunne said in a statement. "It should be clear that the PAPD and NYPD will go to any length to bring those who defile the WTC site to justice."

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey owns the trade center site.

-- CNN's Julie Cannold contributed to this report.

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