A daredevil climber scaled more than a dozen floors of the glass-faced Trump Tower on 56th Street, bringing Midtown Manhattan to a standstill for more than two hours before police hauled him in through an opened window on the 21st floor.
The climber, who police now say is Stephen Rogata from Virginia, scaled the East 56th Street tower with the help of what appeared to be five large "suction cups," according to the New York Daily News.
"I just want to climb. I just want to talk to Trump," Rogata told officers as he climbed, NBC4 New York reported.
A witness said he started in the fifth floor sub-garden, which is accessable to the public, ABC7 New York reported.
“We were in the public garden at Trump Tower when all of a sudden the guy took off his basketball shorts and sprinted down the side of the building on the ledge,” Blake Crowson of Newport News, Virginia told the Daily News. “We thought he was BASE jumping. He had two duffel bags that looked like they had climbing ropes.”
Emergency workers reportedly cut a hole in grates on the building and took out several windows in an effort to intervene. They also lowered window washer scaffolding to an attempt to cut the climber off and set up airbags in case he fell.
Police did not initially want to grab the man for safety reasons, but eventually, when they had created a larger opening, were able to grab him and pulll him to safety after he reached the 21st floor at about 6:35 p.m. — around two hours after police arrived, according to ABC7.
The man, who was carrying a backpack, seemed to be smiling and talking to authorities as he continued to clean off the glass and apply a suction cup as he climbed, ABC7 reported.
"This is clearly a stunt guy," an official told ABC. “The guy doesn’t appear to be here to do anything evil.”
The backpack contained suction cups, climbing equipment, multiple forms of identification and Gatorade, NBC4 wrote.
Police at the scene did not believe he had any weapons in his backpack due to his demeanor. Radiation and explosive detectors did not pick up any signals.
"This man performed a ridiculous and dangerous stunt," Michael Cohen, an executive vice president in the Trump organization said in a statement, ABC reported. "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."
Trump was 500 miles away Wednesday afternoon at a rally in Virginia, ABC reported.
A video (below) posted to YouTube on Tuesday afternoon shows a man who looks like Wedneday's climber explaining the reason for his stunt. Police told ABC there is "no reason to believe it's not him."