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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Columbia

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, September 12, 2016

Connecticut Man Pleads Guilty to Federal Charge For Illegally Scaling White House Fence

Defendant Was Quickly Arrested After Thanksgiving Day Incident

            WASHINGTON – Joseph A. Caputo, 23, of Stamford, Conn., pled guilty today to a federal charge stemming from an incident on Thanksgiving Day 2015 in which he illegally scaled the White House fence, announced U.S. Attorney Channing D. Phillips and Brian J. Ebert, Special Agent in Charge, Washington Field Office, U.S. Secret Service.

            Caputo pled guilty to a charge of entering or remaining in a restricted building or grounds, which carries a statutory maximum of one year in prison, potential financial penalties, and up to a year of supervised release. The Honorable Christopher R. Cooper scheduled sentencing for Dec. 6, 2016. At sentencing, the government has agreed to recommend that the Court impose a period of probation, during which Caputo would be subject to various conditions, including an order to stay away from the District of Columbia and any facilities, sites or people under Secret Service protection, and an agreement to submit to interviews by the Secret Service and undergo a psychiatric evaluation, if requested, by a Secret Service psychologist.

            According to the government’s evidence, on Nov. 26, 2015, Thanksgiving Day, an officer with the U.S. Secret Service’s Uniformed Division witnessed Caputo scaling the White House fence at about 2:45 p.m. At the time, Caputo had one leg over the fence and was wearing an American flag around him like a cape. The officer ran towards Caputo, but Caputo made it over the fence and dropped onto the North Lawn of the White House. The officer called over the radio to alert other officers, and members of the Uniformed Division ordered Caputo to stop and get on the ground. Caputo complied with the orders and was immediately taken into custody.

            While in custody, Caputo made spontaneous statements to law enforcement, including, “I love my country” and “I knew I would be locked up.”

            In announcing the plea, U.S. Attorney Phillips and Special Agent in Charge Ebert commended the work of those who investigated the case from the U.S. Secret Service. They also expressed appreciation for the efforts of those who worked on the case from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, including Assistant U.S. Attorney Ari B. Redbord and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Jacqueline Barkett, who are prosecuting the matter.

Topic(s): 
National Security
Press Release Number: 
16-165
Updated September 12, 2016