South Carolina Woman Takes Plea in Her Latest White House Security Case

A woman with a record of trying to illegally enter the White House grounds has pleaded guilty to an incident on the Fourth of July.

Alicia Keppler of Spartanburg, South Carolina, pleaded guilty Tuesday to entering or remaining in a restricted building or grounds. Keppler has had a history of attempting to gain access to White House grounds, including on the Fourth of July two years in a row, according to authorities.

In the most recent incident, Keppler, 32, jumped over a bike rack security fence, according to a court document.

She ignored orders from the U.S. Secret Service to back away from the security barrier near the fence line and was forcefully taken to the ground by an officer, according to court records filed by the officer. In his court filing, the Secret Service officer said Keppler refused to identify herself after her arrest and was not carrying identification.

"At no time did the individual gain access to the actual White House grounds," a Secret Service spokesman said.

Keppler faces a maximum of a year in prison and a fine when she is sentenced Sept. 19.


Washington, D.C., Maryland and Virginia local news, events and information

Meet Tony Perkins: The New Anchor of News4 Today

Loved Ones Demand Answers at Vigil for 17-Year-Old Shot, Killed by Police in DC

A court document says Keppler previously jumped over a bicycle rack security fence in March 2016 and then twice violated a court order by returning, once to try to get into the White House Easter Egg Roll.

Keppler was also arrested by the U.S. Secret Service on July 4, 2016 for allegedly trying to break onto White House grounds, police have said. That attempt occurred at the White House Ellipse along the east side of 17th Street NW, according to court records. The case was dismissed when Keppler agreed to enter a diversion program and was ordered to undergo mental health services.

Keppler's attorney didn't immediately respond to a telephone call requesting comment Wednesday.

Keppler's case is among a recent string of attempts to breach security at the White House. A News4 I-Team review of prosecutions handled by the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Columbia showed at least 20 prosecutions of people arrested for breaching security since 2014. A majority of the cases involved people for whom mental health screenings were ordered. Several of the cases, including Keppler's, involved multiple attempts spanning several months.

Former Secret Service officer Robert Caltabiano said the agency often arrests repeat offenders breaching security.

“There really isn't a lot, at times, the government can do to hold them," he said. "They can arrest (the offender) for trespassing, and if there's no security component of threatening against the president, the reality is they're going to be released. And guess what? They do it again."

Copyright AP - Associated Press
Contact Us