Las Vegas Sphere climber claims attorneys will get charges dismissed; 3 more face charges

Las Vegas Sphere climber claims attorneys will get charges dismissed; 3 more face charges

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LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Three additional people face charges after a well-known activist climbed the exterior of Sphere, causing an estimated $100,000 in damage. The climber later bragged to police that his attorneys “would get him off” on the charges, documents said.

On Wednesday, Feb. 7 shortly after 10 a.m., officers with the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department received several calls about a “suspicious” person seen climbing the exterior of Sphere.

Police contacted an engineer from Sphere and asked him if anyone from their staff was working on the outside of the structure. The engineer said no one was as it was “out of safety protocols,” the report stated.

Sphere management told police that Sphere was designed to be maintained from the inside as parts of the exterior are “so delicate.”

The engineer, who was inside Sphere at the time, was able to make verbal contact with the climber, later identified as 24-year-old Maison Des Champs, a local pro-life activist who has had previous arrests for climbing skyscrapers around the country.

Maison Des Champs, 24, faces charges of destroying property of another and conspiracy to destroy private property. (LVMPD)

When asked by the engineer how he was doing, Des Champs replied, “Okay,” and said he was “in good condition and didn’t need anything,” before continuing on his way, documents said.

The engineer told police that Des Champs told him he intended to climb down the Sphere after he reached the top. Police asked the engineer if there was a way to retrieve Des Champs once he reached the top of Sphere, and the engineer said there was.

While Des Champs was at the top of Sphere, the engineer saw a drone hovering behind him. Des Champs initially said he did not know who was operating the drone, but when the engineer asked him to have the drone stand down due to a safety concern, Des Champs texted someone and the drone left, the report stated.

The report stated that if Des Champs refused to enter Sphere on its roof, a helicopter would have been used to remove him. Des Champs was taken into custody and walked through Sphere to a patrol car outside.

Three other individuals arrived with Des Champs and recorded his climb while handing out fliers, which contained information about his charity. The charity raises money for pregnant women who do not have a partner to help with the pregnancy, the report stated.

Police identified the three others as Lori Hurley, Aaron Hurley, and David Velasquez-Salazar. Both Hurleys refused to speak with detectives at the scene, but Velasquez-Salazar initially told police it was a “coincidence” that he saw the climber and launched his drone to get footage.

After being told they knew Des Champs was in contact with him, Velasquez-Salazar admitted to police that he lied and said Des Champs asked him to record his climb.

During an interview, Des Champs told police that he had been arrested “several times” for climbing other buildings but had never been convicted. Des Champs was “bragging” to police that his attorneys would “get him off on this incident as well,” documents said.

Sphere management told police there was damaged property on the exterior of Sphere from Des Champs’ climb. The damaged property was estimated to be around $100,000, the report stated.

Additionally, Sphere operations were shut down during the investigation. Advertising on Sphere is estimated to be valued at $2,000 a minute, according to the report.

Des Champs, both Hurleys, and Velasquez-Salazar all face charges of destroying the property of another over $5,000, conspiracy to destroy the property of another, and disregard for the safety of persons and property.

Velasquez-Salazar also faces a charge of operating an aircraft in a careless or reckless manner endangering the life or property of another.

All four are next expected in court on Feb. 12.



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