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 Yorkreported.
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 toldABC. “The guy doesn’t appear to be here to do anything evil.”
The backpack containedsuction 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 ABCthere is "no reason to believe it's not him."
A police source told ABC that the pamphlets indicated that the climber's motivation was self-promotion.
According to NBC4,the man dropped a flier that referred to the YouTube video while climbing.
“I am an independent researcher seeking a private audience with you to discuss an important matter,” the man said in the video. “I guarantee that it is in your interest to honor this request.
“The reason I climbed your tower was to get your attention,” the man continued. “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.”
Before signing off. the hooded figure told his audience to vote Trump in November.
"As for anyone else who is watching, please help make this video go viral so that it gets to Mr. Trump, and be sure to get out and vote for Mr. Trump in the 2016 election," he said.
The "Suction Cup Steve" as he is known on Twitter was taken to Bellevue Hospital for psychological examnination.
Airbags have been deployed in case the climber falls. pic.twitter.com/TpuWQRNBJV— Sgt. Carlos Nieves (@NYPDNieves) August 10, 2016