A woman arrested early Sunday while attempting to scale a fence outside the White House had been arrested two previous times that week, a spokesperson for the Washington Metropolitan Police Department told CNN this weekend.
Secret Service agents found Marci Anderson Wahl, 38, shortly after 2 a.m. on Sunday morning, when she allegedly tripped an alarm near the U.S. Treasury Building, which is inside the White House complex. She was reportedly carrying a backpack and a sleeping bag. Wahl now faces charges of unlawful entry and contempt of court.
Wahl had also attempted to enter the compound last Tuesday, when the Secret Service found her “caught on top of the fence,” according to a police report. Her shoelaces had reportedly gotten tangled in the spikes atop the barrier, leaving her suspended in the air. She was booked, released and ordered to stay away from the White House.
The Secret Service arrested Wahl again on Friday, when agents observed her in a park outside the White House and noticed she was violating the previous order.
The early weeks of Donald Trump’s presidency have already tested the Secret Service, which is currently in the process of finding a new director. Earlier this month, agents arrested Jonathan Tuan An Tran, 26, after he managed to climb a fence outside the Treasury Building. It reportedly took more than 15 minutes to corral Tran, allowing him to reach the president’s residence, where he unsuccessfully attempted to enter through a side door. Tran was wearing a backpack and carrying two cans of Mace at the time. A number of agents are expected to face discipline for that incident.
Past successful White House fence-jumping attempts have already led the Secret Service to revamp its defenses. After a series of people, including a knife-carrying intruder in 2014, made it inside the White House, the agency added spikes to the fence around the grounds. Plans are now underway to make the barrier higher and sturdier.
Meanwhile, the Trump family’s security needs are reportedly stretching the agency’s budget thin. The president’s four adult children all have Secret Service details.
The Secret Service recently asked for an additional $60 million for fiscal year 2018, The Washington Post reported last week, but the Office of Management and Budget rejected that request. The agency said it needed the money to provide security at the president’s private residence at Trump Tower in New York City, where first lady Melania Trump lives with the couple’s 11-year-old son, as well as to cover travel costs incurred by “the president, vice president and other visiting heads of state.”