Photographer Justin Casquejo, a 19-year-old from Weehawken, New Jersey, who has become an Instagram sensation for his daring rooftop images, is facing misdemeanor charges after turning himself into the police on December 2, reports PIX11.
It isn’t the young photographer’s first run-in with the law over his dangerous escapades. Arrested at age 16 in 2014 for sneaking past security and onto the roof of the then-unopened One World Trade Center, Casquejo plead guilty to scaling tall buildings without permission.
He was sentenced to 23 days of community service and asked to write a 1,200-word essay reflecting on the risks he had taken. “The court is impressed by your sincerity and remorsefulness,” Manhattan Criminal Court Judge Felicia Mennin told the teen during his September 2014 sentencing, according to the New York Post. “It will now be up to you to prove the court right.”
Two weeks later, Casquejo was caught climbing a Weehawken water tower; he was subsequently put on three years probation. Allegedly, that term was recently terminated early due to good behavior, even though a cursory glance at Casquejo’s Instagram account (@livejn) proves he has been a fixture on New York rooftops over the last 12 weeks.
In his Instagram bio, Casquejo writes that he aims “to create art that inspires.” His captions glamorize his death-defying exploits with platitudes like “Your life is a work of art. Make it gorgeous! Make it breathtaking! Make it beautiful,” which accompany an image of the teen dangling from scaffolding high above Central Park.
“The problem is he’s thousands of feet in the air, and you can’t tempt gravity too many times and survive,” Joe Giacalone, a former NYPD detective, told ABC7. Should anything go wrong, he cautioned, Casquejo could put the lives of emergency responders at risk, and divert resources from other, less avoidable incidents. “We are going to have to do something with this kid because he didn’t learn his lesson from the first time he did it.”
Casquejo has been charged with one count of base jumping and one count of third degree criminal trespassing.
Jeremy Saland, the teen’s lawyer, told WCBS 880 that Casquejo is not “a malicious, thrill-seeking young man who wants to jeopardize anyone’s safety or health.” The photographer is scheduled to appear in court in January.
See more photos from Casquejo’s Instagram.
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