$1 MILLION bond for 2 Pittsburgh college students attempting Stadium breakin

By Douglas J. Hagmann

  • Initial field investigation tested positive for explosive residue in vehicle
  • Pair had video camera, other “items of interest” in vehicle

6 November 2006: Two Carnegie Mellon students were arrested shortly before 2:00 a.m. Sunday morning after they were caught trying to enter Heinz Field just hours before a scheduled pro-football game at the stadium. Police arrested Sudeep PAUL, 21, of Woodbury, NY and Anand Shankar DARVASULA, 20 of Morgan Hill, California after surveillance cameras caught them trying to get into the stadium.

Durvasula was charged with criminal trespass for scaling a fence outside a locked gate at Heinz Field, and Paul faces charges of criminal conspiracy for assisting in the attempted break-in. Both men were arraigned in front of District Magistrate Gene Riccardi and are being held in the Allegheny County, PA jail on $1 million straight bond each.

The incident began when Heinz Field security officers saw the two men on surveillance cameras opening an exterior door at Gate B, but did not go inside the stadium. Security officials stated that the men were then seen pointing to other areas of the stadium and walking next to Gate 5, picked up a folding chair and set it next to the fence. PAUL and DURVASULA were then observed sneaking to other gates but returning back to Gate 5. At that time, PAUL and DURVASULA allegedly returned to Gate 5 where DURVASULA used the chair to scale the fence, reaching over with the fence with his right arm. It was at that point that a Heinz Field security supervisor approached the men, who attempted to walk away. Both PAUL and DURVASULA were taken into custody by police.

Police identified a late model silver Lexis Sports Utility Vehicle parked near the stadium at Art Rooney Avenue at North Shore Drive near the stadium and traced the ownership to Kumar PAUL, 51, of Woodbury, NY. Police searched the vehicle and found “unidentified suspicious items” inside the vehicle, along with a video camera and tripod.  Two bomb dogs were used to check the SUV for explosives. Although none were found, the criminal complaint filed against PAUL and DARVASULA states that “two different dogs responded positively for hits of explosives” inside of PAUL’s Lexus Sports Utility Vehicle.

When interviewed by police, both men stated that they were Carnegie Mellon (CMU) students and said that they had tickets for the Steelers game on Sunday. They told police that they “decided to check things out so they knew where to go for the game.”  Both men offered additional and conflicting accounts for their activities at the stadium Sunday morning.

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