NEW YORK CITY, N.Y., Aug. 11 (UPI) -- The 19-year-old Virginia man who scaled the 58-story Trump Tower in New York City with suction cups to get the Republican presidential candidate's attention was charged with criminal trespassing and reckless endangerment.
Stephen Rogata, 19, of Great Falls, Va., was yanked from the building at the 21st floor after eluding police for hours, clinging to the glass windows with industrial suction cups, rope and a climbing harness. Rescue workers cut holes in the windows and ventilation covers before eventually removing a whole window and jerking him off his climbing contraption.
Police said Rogata, whose birth name was Michael Joseph Ryan, arrived in New York on Tuesday and was staying in a nearby hotel. His climb captured the attention of hundreds in mid-town Manhattan and millions of viewers on social media. He started climbing at the 5th floor atrium, where there is public access. After he was captured, he was taken to New York City Health & Hospitals/Bellevue for an evaluation.
Rogata released a YouTube video saying he was an "independent researcher" who wanted to meet Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump.
"What he explained to us is that he wanted a personal meeting with Mr. Trump and he posted a YouTube video on Tuesday," Bill Aubrey, chief of detectives with the New York Police Department's Manhattan South Precinct said. "At no time did he express that he wanted to hurt anybody. His sole intention was to meet with Mr. Trump."
At the time, Trump was campaigning in Abingdon, Va. Trump Organization executive Michael Cohen said in a statement: "This man performed a ridiculous and dangerous stunt. There's damage to the building and he caused the unnecessary deployment of New York's finest to protect his safety and the safety of everyone in the building.
"He's caused the shutdown of traffic on Fifth Avenue. I'm 100 percent certain the NYPD had better things to do. If Mr. Trump were here he'd be thanking law enforcement for the job they're doing."