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Man scales Trump Tower in New York City in search of nominee

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-story Manhattan skyscraper

Published: Updated:

A man who wanted an “audience” with Donald Trump spent three hours scaling the Trump Tower on Wednesday using large suction cups, climbing as high as the 21st floor before police officers 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-story Manhattan skyscraper.

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 working his way back and forth across the facade, repeatedly repositioning suction cups.

The chase ended dramatically just after 6:30 p.m.

As a crowd gasped on the street below, two officers leaned far out of a window, grabbed the climber’s arm and harness, and in a flash yanked him from his dangling stirrups.

“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).”

“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 honor 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.”

NYPD 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.

The tower is headquarters to Donald Trump’s Republican presidential campaign and his business empire. Trump also lives there, though he was in Virginia in the afternoon and was headed to Florida for an evening event.

Later Wednesday evening, Trump tweeted “Great job today by the NYPD in protecting the people and saving the climber.”