Intruder arrested at White House after saying he has ‘bomb in the trunk’

Intruder arrested at White House after saying he has ‘bomb in the trunk’
The White House as seen on Nov 8, 2016 in Washington. Photo: AP
Published: 8:35 AM, March 20, 2017
Updated: 9:15 AM, March 20, 2017

WEST PALM BEACH (Florida) — The Secret Service detained a man late on Saturday (March 18) after he drove his car up to a checkpoint near the White House and said he had a bomb, according to police, an episode that resulted in his arrest and security on the grounds being beefed up.

President Donald Trump, who was spending the weekend at his estate in Palm Beach, Florida, was not in the White House at the time, but the Secret Service increased its “posture of readiness” in response to the episode, a spokesman said.

The intrusion came just days after a man made his way onto the White House grounds while Mr Trump was inside. The intruder in that episode roamed the grounds undetected for about 17 minutes as Secret Service agents failed to respond to several alarms.

In Saturday’s episode, the intruder stopped his car at the White House checkpoint just after 11 pm and got out, declaring, “There’s a bomb in the trunk,” as he appeared to clasp something in his hand, according to a report issued by the Metropolitan Police Department.

“This is a test,” the man said as a Secret Service officer detained him and took him to the ground, according to the report.

The man was charged with making false bomb threats and the unauthorised use of a vehicle, which had been reported stolen, the report said. Police identified him as Sean Patrick Keoughan, 29, of Roanoke, Virginia.

Earlier Saturday, another man was arrested after jumping over bicycle-rack-style barricades into a restricted area outside the White House fence on Pennsylvania Avenue, where he stood “yelling nonsensical statements,” according to a police report. Police identified him as William Bryant Rawlinson, 58, of Silver Spring, Maryland.

Neither episode was as serious as the one on March 10, in which Jonathan Tuan-Anh Tran, 26, of Milpitas, California, breached the outer perimeter of the White House near the Treasury building, authorities said.

At the time, Tran was carrying a backpack with two cans of pepper spray, a book by Trump, a letter to the president and other items, authorities said. He was able to elude multiple layers of security before being stopped near the entrance at the South Portico. THE NEW YORK TIMES