San Jose police say 39-year-old, Alam Skander, of Sacramento, sat in the operator's cab for 14 hours, looking out at downtown San Jose, at times napping and at other times shouting.
He appeared to have a two-gallon jug of water and a white sack with him.
"He was a little bit despondent over some marital issues he was going through," said San Jose Police Lt. Rick Weger.
Weger added that Skander also mentioned briefly being homeless.
Power was cut off to the site to render the crane inoperative. The construction firm, Johnstone Moyer Construction, is building a five-story private student housing project with a two-story concrete parking garage at ground level. The site is completely fenced, but somehow Skander got in.
"We believe he jumped the fence and, very determined, and found an opportunity to breach the gate," said Joaquin Pereira with Johnstone Moyer.
A decision was made to cancel work onsite on Monday, costing 100 trades people a day's pay. The construction firm estimates the stoppage will cost the company between $150,000 and $200,000.
"Well, we'll do everything to make up the time. It's unfortunate, but we still have a great deal of the project left to build, so we want to look at every opportunity to make up the schedule," explained Pereira.
Skander could be heard yelling from time to time, although he was inaudible at street level. As the hours dragged on, he got hungry and was coaxed down by police with the promise of food. It was a breakfast burrito that convinced him to give up.
Skander now faces charges of trespassing. While police said he admitted to having used drugs, another officer said he did not appear to be under the influence when he came down.