The White House had an unexpected visitor on Tuesday, one who made more than one error in judgement on the same afternoon.
The White House was put on lockdown briefly after a man leaped over the fence and crash-landed inside the grounds, the Washington Post reported. Secret Service put the smackdown on him as he crawled along a fence-line ditch, called a “moat,” at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building.
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According to the Wall Street Journal, Secret Service said the guy jumped the fence trying to escape after he had robbed and/or sexually assaulted four people in the heart of the city.
“Initial investigation indicates the individual was fleeing from the scene of a robbery that occurred near the area of G Street and 17th Street N.W.”
The alleged perpetrator cut his finger during his flight, and was taken to the hospital for treatment in the company of armed guards, after which he was promptly arrested.
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Police said they are waiting for the filing of formal charges before identifying the subject. The charges should come later Wednesday when he appears in D.C. Superior Court, police said.
“While processing the scene, multiple victims identified [suspect] as previously committing the act of robbery and sexual abuse.”
The White House north lawn was overrun with K9 units and armed Secret Service agents while officials cleared the complex. Reporters working inside the White House were locked in, barring them from leaving the press area.
President Obama was in the White House at the time.
The incident was followed by another on Wednesday morning, when a man threw “personal belongings” over the north fence. He was immediately taken into custody and the White House was on lockdown again, for the second day in a row, while officials swept the area.
The White House has experienced a series of breaches over the past several years.
In September 2014, a troubled Iraq war veteran jumped the fence and sprinted toward the president’s home. He actually made it inside the First Family’s living quarters before Secret Service officials were able to subdue him.
On the intruder’s person, they found a folding knife with a 3.5-inch blade.
The Obamas had left for the weekend about 10 minutes prior to the break-in, the L.A. Times reported.
This breach was believed to be the first in which a White House fence jumper was actually able to enter the building. Upon his arrest, officials found two hatchets, a machete, and 800 rounds of ammunition in his vehicle parked near the White House.
Two months following that breach, another intruder scaled the fence and got into a brawl with two Secret Service dogs.
Not surprisingly, he didn’t win that fight.
The Secret Service has worked to increase security at the White House. Efforts included adding “pencil point spikes” to the fence in 2015, although after they were installed, a man draped in an American flag cleared the fence on Thanksgiving.
On Tuesday, the Secret Service announced that they will be upgrading the White House fence.
According to NBC Washington, the fence will be raised from six feet to 11 feet in height. A new concrete foundation is also in the works.
Secret Service official Tom Dougherty said that the barrier needs improvement.
“The current fence simply is not adequate for a modern era. We’ve said that before. It is becoming more and more acutely clear that that is in fact the case.”
Whether this is due to fence jumpers evolving not in brains, but in athletic ability, he did not elaborate.
“(The fence) is entirely scale-able, depending upon the circumstances. And we have now a society that tends to want to jump over the fence and onto the 18 acres.”
The agency, in cooperation with the National Park Service, plan to begin the new fence construction by 2018.
[Image via Orhan Cam/Shutterstock]