Man with machete arrested inside University of Pennsylvania library

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A man with a machete was arrested inside a library at the University of Pennsylvania. (WPVI)

A man with a machete was arrested inside a library at the University of Pennsylvania.

Police say 39-year-old Michael West was taken into custody with a two foot machete, a box cutter, and a stolen ID in his possession.

At 11:25 a.m. Tuesday, a Penn employee saw West walking near 34th and Walnut.

West appeared to be armed with a large knife. The employee called police, and officers were immediately dispatched.

"He stayed far enough behind, but kept him in sight. And he was able to tell us the man entered the Van Pelt Library," Vice President for Public Safety Maureen Rush said.

Police arrived within two minutes.

Meanwhile, officials held a brief conference call and sent out a campus alert.

"I did get a text message alert saying there was an incident inside the library," junior Jonathan Lau said.

Van Pelt Library has federal archives and is open to the public certain times of day.

Before officers arrived, the man signed in using his Pennsylvania non-driver's license and had his photo taken.

"His machete was covert at that point," Rush said.

Officers descended and a systematic tactical response followed.

Detectives ran his picture, knew who they were looking for, and that he had multiple past arrests.

Teams of officers cleared students and soon found West on the fourth floor, with a two foot machete in plain view.

Police later learned the man was homeless, he found the machete on the street, and has been walking around with it for several days.

"Everything worked as we drilled and planned and you just have to always be ready because you just don't know," Rush said.

West was arrested without incident.
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