Greenpeace protester got into Procter & Gamble by claiming to have appointment

CINCINNATI – Greenpeace protesters likely entered a side door to Procter & Gamble headquarters two blocks away from the towers where they staged their dramatic demonstration Tuesday, a police report notes.

The nine protesters, wearing business attire, may have entered a six-story building owned by P&G at the corner of Sixth and Sycamore streets, where P&G shares offices with Cintrifuse and the Port Authority.

The protesters may have then proceeded through skywalks over Sycamore and Broadway to the towers.

Investigators assigned to the Central Business Section are working to definitively determine how the protesters entered the twin towers. The address listed on the incident report is located two blocks west of P&G's headquarters, an address the company provided, according to investigators.

A single Greenpeace protester led the way by claiming to have an appointment, a company official said Thursday.

P&G has taken steps to improve security following the Greenpeace demonstration, company spokeswoman Lisa Popyk said Thursday.

Popyk declined to give details of the security changes, and said she didn't know whether anyone had been disciplined for the breach.

On Wednesday, Popyk told WCPO "a preliminary investigation by P&G Security showed that one of the protesters appears to have gained illegal access to the building via a third party who shares a P&G office space. That person then let the others in via a secured entrance."

Popyk called the breach a "highly coordinated and well planned activity."

Cincinnati Police Chief Jeffrey Blackwell is calling for a meeting of representatives of local Fortune 500 companies and hotels to discuss security at their facilities and responses to any breaches.

The protest was a "major security breach,'' and should serve as a wake-up call to other businesses, Cincinnati Police Capt. Paul Broxterman said. “If there was a bomb in one of those bags, we could be discussing the aftermath of a terrorist attack rather than a protest... (Tuesday's) events could serve as a wake-up call for other major companies in this area to revise their policies and procedures. If they don’t, I’d be very surprised."

All nine protesters walked out of the Hamilton County Justice Center at about 5:15 p.m. Wednesday.

Feeling accomplished upon being released, the protesters described their efforts as "safe."

The "Greenpeace Nine" face felony charges of burglary and vandalism.

RELATED (INSIDER): How is a building both functional, and secure?

The protesters unfurled two 60-foot banners to call attention to what they claimed is P&G's link to tropical deforestation. The banners read: “Head & Shoulders, Stop Putting Tiger Survival on the Line” and “Head & Shoulders, Wipes out Dandruff & Rainforests.”

One of the activists was dressed in a tiger costume while hanging from the zip line.

Cheten Sonar, who works for a vendor on the 12th floor inside the north tower, said he saw two men and a woman arrive dressed in maintenance clothing with wires, cable and ropes hanging from their bodies.

Sonar said him and his colleagues thought at first they were window washers, but called P&G security when they realized that was not the case.

Sonar said they were not asked to leave as the protest unfolded just outside their windows.

"We stayed at our desks and continued to work," Sonar said.

A little more than an hour after the banners were unfurled, the protesters removed them.

READ MORE (INSIDER): From Greenpeace to PETA: Why P&G is targeted by activists

Municipal Court Judge Brad Greenberg called their actions "reckless" and "ill-advised,'' as he set a $50,000 cash bond for each of the protesters Wednesday. In order to bail them out, Greenpeace posted a total of $450,000 in cash, said Myriam Fallon, a representative from the international environmental group that has staged similar protests across the globe.

The judge admonished the group as the hearing wrapped up.

"You take what they might consider to be a selfless cause and you turn it into a selfish act by putting people in danger in this manner," Greenberg said. "I think the fact that they have no ties to this area is a reason for a significant bond."

Cincinnati lawyer William Gallagher said none of his clients have criminal records, adding they are each law-abiding citizens with legitimate jobs. One of the activists, Tyler Wilkerson, is a former U.S. Marine.

Gallagher told WCPO none of his clients broke into the building.

"All I can tell you is that I know for a fact that no one broke in and they didn’t have any identification cards that would let them go in there… They did not forge a security badge. They did not have a P&G employee’s assistance. I’m relatively comfortable that… they were able to walk in due to a lapse in security,'' Gallagher said.

How They Did It

After hours of questioning Tuesday night at police headquarters, the activists provided little information on how they managed to enter the building of the Fortune 500 company.

Hear the 911 calls below.

CINCINNATI – Greenpeace protesters likely entered a side door to Procter & Gamble headquarters two blocks away from the towers where they staged their dramatic demonstration Tuesday, a police report notes.

The nine protesters, wearing business attire, may have entered a six-story building owned by P&G at the corner of Sixth and Sycamore streets, where P&G shares offices with Cintrifuse and the Port Authority.

The protesters may have then proceeded through skywalks over Sycamore and Broadway to the towers.

Investigators assigned to the Central Business Section are working to definitively determine how the protesters entered the twin towers. The address listed on the incident report is located two blocks west of P&G's headquarters, an address the company provided, according to investigators.

A single Greenpeace protester led the way by claiming to have an appointment, a company official said Thursday.

P&G has taken steps to improve security following the Greenpeace demonstration, company spokeswoman Lisa Popyk said Thursday.

Popyk declined to give details of the security changes, and said she didn't know whether anyone had been disciplined for the breach.

On Wednesday, Popyk told WCPO "a preliminary investigation by P&G Security showed that one of the protesters appears to have gained illegal access to the building via a third party who shares a P&G office space. That person then let the others in via a secured entrance."

Popyk called the breach a "highly coordinated and well planned activity."

Cincinnati Police Chief Jeffrey Blackwell is calling for a meeting of representatives of local Fortune 500 companies and hotels to discuss security at their facilities and responses to any breaches.

The protest was a "major security breach,'' and should serve as a wake-up call to other businesses, Cincinnati Police Capt. Paul Broxterman said. “If there was a bomb in one of those bags, we could be discussing the aftermath of a terrorist attack rather than a protest... (Tuesday's) events could serve as a wake-up call for other major companies in this area to revise their policies and procedures. If they don’t, I’d be very surprised."

All nine protesters walked out of the Hamilton County Justice Center at about 5:15 p.m. Wednesday.

Feeling accomplished upon being released, the protesters described their efforts as "safe."

The "Greenpeace Nine" face felony charges of burglary and vandalism.

RELATED (INSIDER): How is a building both functional, and secure?

The protesters unfurled two 60-foot banners to call attention to what they claimed is P&G's link to tropical deforestation. The banners read: “Head & Shoulders, Stop Putting Tiger Survival on the Line” and “Head & Shoulders, Wipes out Dandruff & Rainforests.”

One of the activists was dressed in a tiger costume while hanging from the zip line.

Cheten Sonar, who works for a vendor on the 12th floor inside the north tower, said he saw two men and a woman arrive dressed in maintenance clothing with wires, cable and ropes hanging from their bodies.

Sonar said him and his colleagues thought at first they were window washers, but called P&G security when they realized that was not the case.

Sonar said they were not asked to leave as the protest unfolded just outside their windows.

"We stayed at our desks and continued to work," Sonar said.

A little more than an hour after the banners were unfurled, the protesters removed them.

READ MORE (INSIDER): From Greenpeace to PETA: Why P&G is targeted by activists

Municipal Court Judge Brad Greenberg called their actions "reckless" and "ill-advised,'' as he set a $50,000 cash bond for each of the protesters Wednesday. In order to bail them out, Greenpeace posted a total of $450,000 in cash, said Myriam Fallon, a representative from the international environmental group that has staged similar protests across the globe.

The judge admonished the group as the hearing wrapped up.

"You take what they might consider to be a selfless cause and you turn it into a selfish act by putting people in danger in this manner," Greenberg said. "I think the fact that they have no ties to this area is a reason for a significant bond."

Cincinnati lawyer William Gallagher said none of his clients have criminal records, adding they are each law-abiding citizens with legitimate jobs. One of the activists, Tyler Wilkerson, is a former U.S. Marine.

Gallagher told WCPO none of his clients broke into the building.

"All I can tell you is that I know for a fact that no one broke in and they didn’t have any identification cards that would let them go in there… They did not forge a security badge. They did not have a P&G employee’s assistance. I’m relatively comfortable that… they were able to walk in due to a lapse in security,'' Gallagher said.

How They Did It

After hours of questioning Tuesday night at police headquarters, the activists provided little information on how they managed to enter the building of the Fortune 500 company.

Hear the 911 calls below.

Print this article Back to Top

Comments

or Subscribe now so you can share your opinion! It’s only a penny for a month trial.

More Greenpeace P&G Protest
8 of 9 Greenpeace protesters refuse plea deal
8 of 9 Greenpeace protesters refuse plea deal

Eight of the nine Greenpeace protesters arrested at Procter & Gamble headquarters last March are going to face the possibility of prison…

Judge refuses to dismiss charges in P&G protest
Judge refuses to dismiss charges in P&G protest

A judge refused to dismiss burglary charges Wednesday against nine Greenpeace activists who staged an eye-catching protest involving a…

P&G adopts new palm oil standard
P&G adopts new palm oil standard

Procter & Gamble Co. announced new sustainability goals Tuesday for no deforestation in its palm oil supply chain. The move comes 35 days…

Greenpeace takes P&G palm oil protests worldwide
Greenpeace takes P&G palm oil protests worldwide

Greenpeace activists who staged a daring demonstration at Procter & Gamble Co. headquarters in Cincinnati have taken their message…

Greenpeace protester proud to be part of ordeal
Greenpeace protester proud to be part of ordeal

One of the Greenpeace protesters who dangled outside of Procter & Gamble's Cincinnati headquarters says he is proud of what he did.

Greenpeace Nine indicted on felony charges
Greenpeace Nine indicted on felony charges

The "Greenpeace Nine" face felony charges carrying up to nine-and-a-half years in prison and a $20,000 fine stemming from the…

Police: Investigation of Greenpeace stunt closed
Police: Investigation of Greenpeace stunt closed

Cincinnati Police said its investigation into the Greenpeace high-wire, stunt protest at Procter and Gamble headquarters is closed, police…

Greenpeace insiders tell how they do it
Greenpeace insiders tell how they do it

Greenpeace protesters 'work like SWAT teams,' said a former co-founder of the global environmental group.

Protesters likely got in via auxiliary building
Protesters likely got in via auxiliary building

Procter & Gamble says it is improving security after a simple entry set off an elaborate, well-orchestrated demonstration on the…

Police chief calls top firms to security summit
Police chief calls top firms to security summit

"We want them to have a plan that they've practiced -- that they've shared with their employees -- not just their security…