Daniel Casillo, 31, was able to swim up to and enter the airport grounds on Friday night, past an intricate system of motion sensors and closed-circuit cameras designed to safeguard against terrorists, authorities said.
"I think he should be given dinner and a bottle of champagne for showing us our faults," said Nicholas Casale, an NYPD veteran and former MTA deputy security director for counterterrorism.
Instead, Casillo was arrested after the incredible adventure that has stunned security officials.
Casillo's night began innocently enough, as he and some friends were racing on jet skis in Jamaica Bay near JFK airport when his watercraft stalled. After calling for and receiving no help, he managed to swim towards the only thing he could see, the runway lights at JFK.
Once he made it to land, Casillo climbed an eight-foot barbed-wire perimeter fence and walked undetected through the airport's Perimeter Intrusion Detection System and across two runways into Delta's terminal 3.
Unnoticed until then, Casillo walked into the airport dripping wet and wearing his bright yellow life jacket.
When he was eventually spotted by a Delta employee, police charged Casillo with criminal trespassing.
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