Police nab Trump tower climber
A man who wanted an "audience" with Donald Trump spent three hours scaling the glass facade of Trump Tower on Wednesday using large suction cups, climbing as high as the 21st floor before police grabbed him and hauled him to safety through an open window.
The climber, identified by police as a 20-year-old Virginia man, wore a backpack and used a harness and rope stirrups to fasten himself to the side of the 68-floor Manhattan skyscraper.
The tower is headquarters to Donald Trump's Republican presidential campaign and his business empire. Mr Trump also lives there, though he was in Virginia in the afternoon and was heading to Florida for an evening event.
Mr Trump tweeted later: "Great job today by the NYPD in protecting the people and saving the climber."
For a long time, the climber played a slow-motion cat-and-mouse game with would-be rescuers. Officers smashed windows and broke through ventilation ducts to block his progress. Police also lowered themselves toward him using a window washer's platform.
The man kept his distance by methodically working his way back and forth across the facade, repeatedly repositioning suction cups resembling those used by window cleaners to remove big panes of glass.
The chase ended dramatically just after 6.30pm local time.
As a crowd gasped on the street below, two officers leaned out of a window, grabbed the climber's arm and harness, and quickly yanked him from his dangling stirrups. He went through the opening head first, his legs pointed skywards.
"I reached out. I took hold of his hand and I said, 'Sir, would you come with me'," said detective Christopher Williams, who made the grab.
Police had deployed large inflated crash pads at the scene but it was unclear how much protection they would have offered if the climber fell.
A day before the ascent, police said the climber posted a video on YouTube entitled "Message to Mr Trump (why I climbed your tower)". He posted the video under the name Leven Thumps, which is a character in a series of children's fantasy novels by the writer Obert Skye.
"I am an independent researcher seeking a private audience with you to discuss an important matter. I guarantee that it's in your interest to honour this request," he said.
"Believe me, if my purpose was not significant, I would not risk my life pursuing it. The reason I climbed your tower is to get your attention. If I had sought this via conventional means, I would be much less likely to have success because you are a busy man with many responsibilities."
New York Police Department assistant chief William Aubrey said the man, who was not named by police, told officers the same thing after he was safely inside the building.
"At no time did he express that he wanted to hurt anybody," he said.
"This man performed a ridiculous and dangerous stunt," Michael Cohen, an executive at the Trump Organisation, said. "I'm 100% certain the NYPD had better things to do."
The climber began his ascent from a terrace that is open to the public during the day. Police said he was taken to hospital to be evaluated.