WASHINGTON: A man who scaled a White House fence earlier this month traipsed the grounds of the executive residence for more than 16 minutes prior to his arrest, the US Secret Service said.
The trespasser breached the grounds while the president was in the Washington mansion just before midnight on March 10.
The individual managed to climb over an outer perimeter fence, scale a vehicle gate and hop another fence near the southeast corner of the White House’s East Wing before he was captured after his 16 minute-plus jaunt, according to the Secret Service statement.
Uniformed officers took the intruder — who CNN reported was identified in court records as Jonathan Tran, 26 — “into custody on the grounds without incident.”
“The Secret Service can confirm that at no time did the individual gain entry into the White House,” the statement said.
Republican Congressman Jason Chaffetz dubbed the incident “a total and complete embarrassment.”
“(Homeland Security chief John) Kelly told me that this person was there on the ground for 17 minutes, went undetected, was able to get up next to the White House, hide behind a pillar, look through a window, rattle the door handle,” the lawmaker told CNN.
According to the Washington Post, Tran, who is from northern California, was carrying a backpack and two cans of mace.
If convicted he faces a maximum of 10 years in prison, according to the paper.
Following the incident US President Donald Trump praised the Secret Service for a “fantastic job.”
The White House has seen a string of high-profile trespassing incidents in recent years.
In one notable 2014 incident, while Barack Obama was president, a disturbed Army veteran jumped the White House fence, sprinted across the lawn and entered the building with a knife in his pocket. AFP