INDEPENDENCE TOWNSHIP (Warren County)-–
UPDATE: Independence Township Police requested the public’s help in identifying the two suspects that broke into Great Meadows Central School early Wednesday morning.
Police confirmed in a press release that there was a break-in at Central School last night at 1:05 AM, but said that students at Central School were never in danger today. The press release said that “officers and school security assured the school was safe for the children to enter prior to their arrival.”
According to Independence Township Police Officer-in-Charge, Lieutenant Christopher Prell, upon the arrival of police they conducted a physical sweep of the building to make sure that no unauthorized persons were still inside, which concluded around 8 AM.
He added that a review of security footage upon their arrival revealed that two males wearing painter’s masks entered the building, wandered around and moved some stuff before exiting around 2 AM. No damage was reported and nothing from the school was reported stolen.
Lt. Prell declined to say exactly how the suspects entered the building, citing security concerns, but said that it was not through a security-protected door. He said that the suspects’ entry point has since been secured to prevent future unauthorized entry.
Although the building is protected by a security system, Lt. Prell told RNJ that police did not receive an alert in real-time from the system as the two suspects were inside. The failure of the system to alert authorities is under investigation.
The incident is currently being treated as a burglary investigation by police, according to Lt. Prell. He said that photos of the suspects will be released from the Independence Township Police’s Social Media channels. No suspects have been named at this time, though they were described as possibly being in their 20’s.
An e-mail to parents this morning from Great Meadows School District said that police are at the school and students are not being allowed outside until dismissal due to an alleged break-in at the school last night.
According to the alert, titled “Security Activities at GMRSD” and sent at 10 am, security personnel have been assigned to both Central School and Great Meadows Middle School. It also said police are on scene and they are reviewing security footage and sweeping the premises to “ensure there is nothing out of the ordinary and your children are safe.”
In an online community forum, parents expressed concern that they were not notified of the break-in until after their children already arrived at school. While the press release was sparse on details of the break-in, one person commented that they spoke to the school and were told that 2 people entered the school through a vent and were no longer in the building.
RNJ has not independently verified that information as the District Superintendent, The School Principal, and the Independence Police could not be reached for comment.
RNJ is expecting more information, check back for updates.