NEW YORK — A man climbed part-way up The New York Times' 52-story headquarters early Wednesday, becoming the third person to scale the skyscraper in less than five weeks.
The climber, identified by police as David Malone, made it to the 11th floor of the mid-Manhattan building before descending to a lower level where he spent hours making cell phone calls and talking to police. He was arrested early Wednesday morning, police said.
At one point, the climber unfurled a banner on the "T" of the Times' sign that referred to Osama bin Laden, police said. Malone is the author of a book, "Bin Laden's Plan," that argues that Sept. 11 was part of a plot by al-Qaida to provoke the U.S. into invading Iraq, according to a book summary at Amazon.com.
Malone, 29, said news reports about the earlier climbs had inspired him to get publicity for his crusade against al-Qaida, and said those reports also provided him with a roadmap on how to do it, according to police.
Climbing tower like a ladder
On June 5, Renaldo Clarke and French daredevil Alain Robert separately climbed the Times building, which the newspaper company moved into last year. It is covered with slats that the men used to climb the tower like a ladder.
Dozens of police and firefighters responded about 1:30 a.m. Wednesday after the new climber was spotted, police said. Streets were closed off and an inflatable cushion was placed in front of the main entrance.
One of the calls the climber made was to a night editor at the Daily News, telling the editor he was trying to bring al-Qaida to the public's attention because Americans do not think the terrorist group is enough of a threat to national security, authorities said.
Police brought the Daily News editor to the scene, and hostage negotiators worked to get the climber down to the fifth floor so he could speak to the editor in person, said Police Department spokesman Paul Browne.
Malone was taken to Bellevue Hospital Center for evaluation and arrested on charges of reckless endangerment and criminal mischief. He was awaiting arraignment.
"The department's view is these antics put the public at grave risk, not to mention the potential for injury or death for the climber. The police department treats it seriously," Browne said.
On June 5, both Robert and Clarke made it to the top and were charged with reckless endangerment, criminal trespass and disorderly conduct.
A spokeswoman for the Times, Catherine Mathis, said modifications were made to the building and additional security was added after those stunts. The company was investigating how Wednesday's climber was able to overcome the additional obstacles.
The criminal case against Robert evaporated when grand jurors refused to indict him after hearing about his climbing experience and safeguards. He still faced a disorderly conduct citation, a far less serious charge.
After the grand jury refused to indict Robert, prosecutors said they were weighing how to proceed against Clarke.
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