Teens jailed for scaling building in St. Louis area

Thursday, February 23, 2006

RICHMOND HEIGHTS, Mo. -- Two high school seniors scaled the side of a 23-story office building, nearly reaching the top before rappelling back down at the request of police who interrupted their daring climb.

Police said the two were both experienced climbers and neither was hurt. The two climbed the University Club Tower, across from the Galleria in the St. Louis suburb of Richmond Heights, Tuesday afternoon, attracting television coverage.

One reached the 20th floor and the other was just below him when they gave up their ascent at the request of police at about 4 p.m. Richmond Heights Police Maj. Rick Vilcek took an elevator to the 20th floor, and through a window slat told them police were concerned for their safety.

The two then made their way back down. Firefighters stood by with ladders and rescue gear, but they weren't needed.

The young men, identified as Jack McKinney and Tom Slattery, both 18, giggled while news photographers took pictures. Police, less amused, handcuffed them and took them off in a patrol car for a night in jail.

Police said the young men reported they climbed the building because there were no mountains around.

"They certainly did get a lot of publicity," said Vilcek.

The city attorney was considering municipal charges against the teens, possibly trespassing, which would carry a penalty of up to a $500 fine and a year in jail.

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