LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – In the second major security breach at LAX this summer, airport police say at approximately 4:45 a.m. Sunday morning, a homeless man was able to pry his way underneath the airport perimeter fence, walk across the tarmac and board a plane.
Los Angeles Airport Police have confirmed the details in a statement, identifying the suspect as 31-year-old Matthew Maine.
According to the statement from Sergeant Rob Pedregon, after Maine boarded the American Airlines aircraft, the cleaning crew “immediately challenged the individual.” They then called airport police, who quickly took him into custody.
When we told travelers outside of LAX about the incident, most were shocked.
“For someone to just walk down there so easily is definitely concerning,” said Lindsey Weiker.
“That’s insane,” said Taylor Prater.
In a statement, American Airlines added, “…the aircraft has since been reinspected by security teams. We appreciate our cleaning partner’s quick reaction.”
A little over a week ago, a man breached security at John Wayne Airport in Santa Ana, eventually hiding in the ceiling until deputies pulled him out. We spoke then with Jeff Price, the former assistant director of security for Denver International Airport, who described the layers to airport security as “fences, alert workers, door alarms, cameras.”
“The system the way it is now, people will be able to access the airfield illegally but as long as we can catch them, as long as they don’t get to an airplane then the system has functionally worked, one layer might have failed but other layers succeeded,” said Price.
In this case, it appears the suspect got past more than one layer – before a cleaning crew stopped him from getting even further than he did.
The suspect was arrested for trespassing.