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World Trade Center BASE Jumpers Face Burglary Charges

By Aditi Mukherji, JD | Last updated on

A World Trade Center BASE jump has landed four men in legal trouble. Three skydiving enthusiasts and their alleged accomplice have been arrested on burglary and reckless endangerment charges for a daring parachute jump in September.

Marko Markovich, 27; Andrew Rossig, 33; and James Brady, 32, are professional BASE jumpers -- standing for "building, antenna, span, earth" -- who set their sights on the rebuilt World Trade Center, the tallest building in the United States, The Associated Press reports. Alleged accomplice Kyle Hartwell, 29, stood watch from the ground.

But how is BASE jumping from atop 1 World Trade Center -- informally known as the Freedom Tower -- considered burglary?

BASE-Jumping Burglars?

When you think "burglary," an image of the Hamburglar might come to mind -- a masked bandit skulking around to steal something. But the legal definition of burglary is actually quite broad and can apply to non-theft situations, too.

Burglary is typically defined as the unlawful entry into almost any structure with the intent to commit a crime inside. The crime does not need to be theft or larceny. It just so happens that most burglaries involve theft.

In all likelihood, the thrill-seekers' entry into the building was unauthorized, as the tower is still under construction. But security cameras around the World Trade Center site recorded at least two figures in black suits and black helmets landing and walking off into the night with their parachutes about 3 a.m. on September 30.

But what about their intent to commit a crime?

Intent to Commit (Awesome Parachute Jump) Crime

You might be thinking that the daredevils didn't have the requisite intent to commit a crime inside the building. But alas, their parachute jump can indeed be unlawful.

Back in 2008, New York put into effect a local law that makes it illegal to scale any city structure more than 50 feet tall, including statues, cranes, bridges, signs, or buildings. Call it an anti-Spidey law, if you will.

"We don't want our city to become Disneyland for BASE jumpers or climbers," said Peter F. Vallone, Jr., chairman of the Council's Committee on Public Safety, who sponsored the legislation.

A recently released video of the World Trade Center BASE jump is pretty breathtaking, but as resident fun-sucking NYPD Commissioner William Bratton reminds us, "Being a thrill-seeker does not give immunity from the law."

The city seems to be struggling with security as of late. Despite multimillion-dollar security measures at the construction site, a 16-year-old boy was arrested earlier this month for sneaking to the top of 1 World Trade Center with his camera.

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