San Jose Airport Suffers Fifth Security Breach In Less Than One Year

San Jose Airport Suffers Fifth Security Breach In Less Than One Year

By Katie Nelson, San Jose Mercury News (TNS)

SAN JOSE, California — For the fifth time in less than a year, a person was arrested after trespassing on airport property at Mineta San Jose International Airport.

According to airport spokeswoman Vicki Day, a woman who has not yet been identified was spotted around 5:15 p.m. by a UPS employee along the south fence at the airport.

San Jose police said the woman was walking eastbound and when officers approached her, she became combative and had to be “subdued” before she was arrested.

Police said the woman carried no identification and refused to identify herself. She was booked into Santa Clara County Jail on suspicion of trespassing and resisting arrest, police added.

Police investigators believe the woman may have scaled the fence near the southwest corner of the airport.

“I don’t know of any other airport in the country that has had five security breaches this year,” said Representative Eric Swalwell (D-Hayward), who sits on the House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Transportation Security.

Swalwell added that he did not believe there was a federally mandated height restriction on airport fences, but that the greatest way to combat future trespassers is to use technology that already exists. Swalwell said certain programs could spot a trespasser the minute they may hop onto a fence, and that agencies have already offered to help with the security issue at the airport.

Adding height to the fence is not the answer, he added. “Show me a fence that is two feet taller, I’ll show you a ladder that’s two feet taller than that,” he said.

Nearly one year ago, Santa Clara teen Yahya Abdi made headlines when he stowed away in the wheel well of a Hawaiian Airlines jet after scaling the airport’s perimeter fence in an effort to get back to his mother in Africa.

The plane, however, flew five 1/2 hours to Hawaii, where the boy was discovered hobbling out of the wheel space by airport personnel.

In August, notorious stowaway Marilyn Hartman was able to bypass security at the airport and get on an airplane that flew to Los Angeles before she was discovered.

In November, Miguel Zaragoza was detained after he was caught trespassing on the Atlantic Aviation ramp at the airport. When airport employees took him to a lobby to wait for police, Zaragoza fled, stole a city maintenance truck and drove through the airport before he was apprehended.

Finally, in January, Jose Mendoza was arrested after he was spotted by a security guard around 11:50 p.m. walking on a vehicle road on the tarmac side of the airport, according to police.

When the guard tried to stop Mendoza, he ran and tried to climb a perimeter fence but was injured and then detained by police.

Photo: Corey Seeman via Flickr

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