Man Climbs Crane, Stymies Police

Times Staff Writer

A man drinking alcohol scaled an 18-story construction crane in downtown Los Angeles on Thursday night, went into the control booth and swung its massive boom haphazardly as police on the ground and in helicopters tried to figure out how to get him down.

Police eventually disconnected power to the crane, which the man climbed into at 7:45 p.m. high above 1st and Main streets, a block from City Hall.

Near midnight, a SWAT team was scaling a nearby crane in hopes of communicating with the man.

Initially, the man was seen sitting at the tip of the boom, casually swinging his legs and walking along its supports.


A police helicopter buzzed overhead and officers used a bullhorn to try to make contact with him. Bystanders heard him shout at least twice, but couldn’t make out what he was saying.

Emergency crews blocked off streets surrounding the partially constructed Caltrans building that the crane services.

Officer Juan Guerra said police didn’t know where the man came from or what his intention was.

“We believe he has alcohol with him,” Guerra said.

The owner of the crane told police it should have been locked, Police Capt. Jim Rubert said.

The man was expected to be booked on suspicion of trespassing and breaking and entering, Rubert said, but, he added, “other than move the crane around, he hasn’t done much.”