Man detained after scaling exterior of massive Sphere venue near the Las Vegas Strip

Las Vegas police have detained a man who scaled the exterior of the massive Sphere venue

Associated Press
Wednesday 07 February 2024 21:57 GMT
Climber Las Vegas Sphere
Climber Las Vegas Sphere (Copyright 2023 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

A man who scaled the exterior of the massive Sphere venue in Las Vegas on Wednesday morning was taken into custody, authorities said.

Las Vegas police said they began receiving calls about a person climbing the 366-foot-tall (112 meters) spherical structure near the Strip just after 10 a.m. The police department confirmed in an email about an hour later that the man had been detained.

The department identified the man as Maison Des Champs, 24. It wasn’t immediately clear what charges he faces.

Clark County Sheriff Kevin McMahill, head of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, characterized the incident as a publicity stunt “because of who they told me that they believe it is.”

Des Champs is a local rock climber who has pulled off similar stunts before in Las Vegas and beyond. He posted a short cellphone video Wednesday morning on his Instagram account from atop the Sphere.

The video shows him against a blue but cloudy sky with a GoPro camera strapped to his head.

“Hey guys, I'm here on top of the Sphere,” he says in the video, wind whipping in the background as he explains that he scaled the structure to help raise funds for a pregnant woman who is experiencing homelessness.

Des Champs was first arrested by Las Vegas police in August 2021 after scaling the Aria on the Strip. That time, he claimed that the stunt was to protest mask mandates during the COVID-19 pandemic. He was charged with misdemeanor disorderly conduct and trespassing, but prosecutors later dismissed the case, court records show.

Des Champs, who bills himself as “The Official Pro-Life Spider-Man” on his social media accounts, was detained last February by Arizona authorities after scaling Phoenix’s tallest building to promote his anti-abortion cause. He says he climbs for a nonprofit called Let Them Live, which raises funds for women who seek an abortion because they cannot financially support a child.

Phoenix Fire Capt. Todd Keller called last year's stunt “very, very dumb.”

“This is so dangerous," Keller said at the time. “You put not only yourself in danger, you put firefighters in danger. You put anyone else walking below or anybody around this incident in danger.”

Wednesday's incident unfolded as Las Vegas expects to welcome more than 330,000 visitors this week for Super Bowl 58. It also happened around the same time authorities were holding a news conference at Mandalay Bay to discuss security measures for the city’s first-ever NFL championship game.

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