Thursday, April 26 , 2018, 12:54 pm | Fair 60º


Local News

Protesters Cited in Security Breach at Vandenberg AFB

Two protesters were cited and one arrested over the weekend for federal trespass after illegally entering Vandenberg Air Force Base, according to base officials.

The Rev. Louis Vitale, 80, and Rebecca Casa, 30, were the first to be cited when they were stopped about 6 p.m. Saturday near a base entry gate, according to Kathi Peoples, a 30th Space Wing Security Forces spokeswoman.

Security forces apprehended Vitale and Casa after they became suspicious of their vehicle and because both previously had been barred from the base.

Theodore Kayser, 22, was arrested about 2 a.m. Sunday for trespassing near an inactive facility located not far from the north base perimeter, Peoples said.

Kayser was detained and released eight hours later at Ryon Park in Lompoc, while Vitale and Casa were escorted off Vandenberg property after receiving citations.

Vandenberg officials say there was no impact to ongoing missions.

“It is the right of every American to gather in peaceful protest as well as to practice free speech, and we as military members work daily to ensure those rights are protected,” said Col. Nina Armagno, 30th Space Wing commander. “However, when they illegally enter Vandenberg property, our base defenders must take action to ensure the safety and security of all personnel and property.

“Thanks to the swift response by our security forces and vigilance by all base personnel, we were able to safely handle base trespassers this weekend while continuing to provide superior access to and from space for the joint force and our nation.”

The breach of the base’s backcountry security zones was the first in nearly a decade, and also coincided with the 50th anniversary of the Cuban missile crisis, according to a release sent out Monday by the Alliance to Resist Robotic Warfare & Society.

Both the Los Angeles Catholic Worker and Vandenberg Witness groups — which stand against the base’s “global pattern of violent high-tech military abuse”— have the release posted on their websites.

Other participants in the nonviolent trespass eluded security patrols while crossing fences and hanging banners on nuclear first-strike missile silos, according to the release.

The groups also claim to have conducted “an unauthorized Christian prayer liturgy and exorcism of evil” inside Vandenberg boundaries. 

Noozhawk staff writer Gina Potthoff can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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