Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Breaking News: Zany Terrorist Atop Zakim Bridge

"Homeless man charged with stealing lights off top of Zakim Bridge" by Zolan Kanno-Youngs, Globe Correspondent  March 04, 2015

A homeless man was arrested Tuesday night on charges of stealing aircraft warning lights from the top of the Zakim Bridge, State Police said.

Clifford W. Beckford, 34, is accused of breaking into one of the bridge’s towers, climbing a ladder to the peak, and removing a 3-foot-tall red beacon on Feb. 3, and also in the early 2000s, according to David Procopio, State Police spokesman.

The Joint Terrorism Task Force aided in the investigation because the lights on the Leonard P. Zakim Bunker Hill Memorial Bridge are used to guide planes in foggy weather.

“Beckford was not attempting to commit a terrorist act, probe the bridge’s security system, or cause an aircraft to hit the tower,” Procopio said in a statement.

He was not trying to make money, either. “He was motivated just by the desire to commit the act,” Procopio said. “He determined this was something he wanted to do.”

Michael Verseckes, a spokesman for the Massachusetts Department of Transportation, said, “MassDOT considers this to be a serious breach in security protocols.”

According to the State Police, Beckford dropped the recently stolen light off outside the Warren Tavern in Charlestown. State Police found the light in the cellar of the tavern Tuesday night.

After further questioning, State Police learned the light stolen years prior was dropped off outside the Old State House Museum in Boston. State Police went to the museum on Wednesday and discovered its employees also had brought it inside not knowing what it was.

“The lights were dropped at both locations anonymously,” Procopio said. “The employees from both locations were very cooperative.”

Beckford was charged with six offenses and arraigned in Boston Municipal Court on Wednesday. A not-guilty plea was entered on his behalf and he was ordered to undergo a mental health evaluation.

“The potential for harm was there, certainly, even though it wasn’t his intention,” Procopio said. “The lights are there for a reason and it was a public safety concern.”

Beckford was arrested without incident near a family member’s home in Melrose, according to Procopio. He is believed to be living out of his car."


"Alleged thief of bridge beacon to undergo more tests" by Aneri Pattani, Globe Correspondent  March 23, 2015

The man who allegedly stole an aircraft warning beacon off the top of the Leonard P. Zakim Bunker Hill Bridge was ordered to undergo further mental health evaluation.

At a hearing Monday in Boston Municipal Court, a judge ordered Clifford Beckford Jr., 34, to continue to undergo evaluation at the Dr. Solomon Carter Fuller Mental Health Center in Boston, where he has been held since his arraignment on March 4, said Jake Wark, a spokesman for the Suffolk district attorney’s office.

Beckford allegedly stole the beacon atop the landmark bridge on Feb. 3 and drove off with it in his car, Wark said. He later brought it to the Warren Tavern in Charlestown, where State Police found it in the basement.

Steven Boozang, the attorney for Beckford, called him a “very bright young man.”

“He has made a mistake, but certainly there was no malicious intent on his behalf,” Boozang said.

A homeless man was arrested on Tuesday night for allegedly stealing aircraft warning lights from the top of the Zakim Bridge.

Beckford was arrested at a relative’s home in Melrose on March 3 and charged with multiple offenses, including breaking and entering, prosecutors said.

He is to appear in Boston Municipal Court on May 14.