A man drove a stolen car through an unmanned security gate and hid in a storm drain overnight on the Army installation that is home to the National Security Agency, authorities said.
The eventual arrest of the man, identified by police as Dante Small, 41, marked the end of the second recent security breach at the gates of Fort Meade in Maryland.
Army Col. Brian P. Foley, the garrison commander at Fort Meade, told reporters Thursday afternoonthat Small entered the installation in a stolen car while he was being chased by Anne Arundel County police. He drove through a closed, unmanned access gate at high speed, then crashed into a fence on the installation.
Foley said that Small, who lives in Hagerstown, Md., got out of the car, ran away and hid in a storm drain. He stayed underground overnight and was caught shortly after he emerged about 10:15 a.m. Thursday, Foley said.
Several schools closed for the day Thursday because of the all-night manhunt at the secure government facility.
Police said the incident began with a robbery or carjacking in Baltimore.
When officers tried to stop the vehicle in the Hanover area of Anne Arundel County, the driver led them on a roughly five-mile chase before he crashed his way into the Fort Meade compound, lost control of the vehicle and struck an inner fence near the post’s Rockenbach entrance.
Officers from Anne Arundel along with police dogs and a helicopter joined Fort Meade police in the search. There were no reports of injuries. Foley said that investigators have not found a weapon.
Six schools in the area closed all day: Meade middle and high schools, MacArthur Middle School, Manor View Elementary School, Pershing Hill Elementary School and West Meade Early Education Center.
At Fort Meade, the post was on “reduced operations” during the search, officials said, meaning that only essential personnel were at the facility. After Small was apprehended, the post announced a return to normal operations.
Fort Meade is between Baltimore and Washington, and more than 50,000 people work and live at the installation, making it one of the biggest employers in Maryland. In March, police at the NSA shot two people who did not follow orders to turn around a stolen SUV at a security gate at Fort Meade.
Foley said that the two situations were different but that the latest incident would prompt the installation to review security.