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Ohio man charged in bizarre White House security incident

By Carol Cratty, CNN
updated 6:57 PM EDT, Tue June 11, 2013
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Driverless SUV rammed steel security pipe and light pole outside White House
  • Man jumped nearby fence, said he wanted to paint 'snake' on grounds, records show
  • Search of vehicle turned up ammunition but no weapons, authorities said
  • Ohio man charged with destruction of property; Obama not in DC at time of incident

Washington (CNN) -- An Ohio man was charged Tuesday with destruction of property stemming from a bizarre incident outside the White House that involved a driverless SUV.

Joseph Clifford Reel, 32, of Kettering, Ohio, appeared in federal court and will remain jailed pending a detention hearing on Thursday.

According to a court affidavit, a driverless sports utility vehicle rammed a steel security bollard and a light post shortly after 3 a.m. on Sunday.

Officers found a wood block had been attached to the accelerator.

Secret Service officers spotted a man nearby on a bike who said he was watching the action.

Officers told him to move along and he did. But the same man, later identified as Reel, allegedly jumped a fence at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, which is next to the White House.

President Barack Obama was in California while all this was going on.

Reel was captured along with a can of paint. According to the court document, he told officers that he wanted to spray paint the "Don't Tread on Me" rattlesnake from an American Revolutionary era flag somewhere at the White House complex.

A search of the Jeep turned up 100 rounds of .45 caliber ammunition, 100 rounds of .22 caliber ammunition. eight knives, and two machetes. No explosives or guns were found, authorities said.

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