Virginia couple breaks into nuclear plant

John Joyce

A Virginia couple is being held in York County Prison under a $100,000 bond each after police say they cut through a fence and entered the Peach Bottom Nuclear Generating Station Friday night.

Plant security officers told the responding state troopers that they would have been within their rights to shoot the couple had they come much closer to entering a storage building where radioactive material is transferred, according to the charging documents.


Timothy Stewart, 29, and Jenilee Simpson, 33, of Chesapeake, Virginia, are each charged with multiple counts of criminal trespass. Stewart faces an added charge of driving on a suspended license while Simpson is also charged with possession of drug paraphernalia.


According to the charging documents, the couple told police they were on their way from Baltimore to New York when they got lost in Pennsylvania. They ended up on a dark road that accesses the atomic power plant, the documents said. A barbed-wire fence surrounds the compound and blue and white "No Trespassing" signs are visible from the road. A system of concrete barriers are also set out to prevent drivers from approaching the site.

Stewart admitted to cutting through the chain keeping the gate secured, but said he did not see the signs warning against trespassing, the documents said.

Security personnel detained Stewart and Simpson and called the state police.

Once on scene, state police were told by security officers that, had the couple gained access to building containing radioactive materials, that would have constituted a "huge security risk." The security officers said they could have used lethal force, according tot he documents.

Police ran a background check and found that Stewart's drivers license had been revoked. Both he and Simpson were taken into custody.

— Reach John Joyce atjjoyce2@yorkdispatch.comor on Twitter at @JohnJoyceYD