Threats made against five NJ schools in one day
TRENTON - Five schools across New Jersey, mostly at the Jersey Shore, received threats on Wednesday.
Schools in Lacey, Cherry Hill, Marlboro, Rumson and Jackson were all evacuated as buildings were searched.
• Bomb sniffing dogs were brought in after a bomb threat was called into the main office of the Lanoka Harbor Elementary School at 10:35 a.m. The building was determined to be safe and normal classes resumed after students were served their normal lunch.
• The Rosenauer Elementary School in Jackson received a call at 10:45 a.m. that a person was on their way to the school with a weapon. The school was immediately placed on lockdown and police went to the school. Students were kept on lockdown for the rest of the school day, even after Jackson Police said there was no merit to the call. All other Jackson schools were placed on a modified shelter-in-place.
• Staff at the Marlboro Jewish Center Annex pre-school moved children to the Frank Dugan Elementary School just before 11 a.m. after a call was made to the school. Marlboro Police spokesman Fred Wreck said after an investigation the staff returned to the annex at 12:30 p.m.
• Cherry Hill Police said the Beck Middle School received an anonymous threat around 11:03 a.m. putting the school into a lockdown with numerous law enforcement responding to investigate. No threat was found and students resumed a normal schedule. NJ Pen reported that police went to other schools, and the nearby Joseph D. Sharp Elementary School was placed on lockdown as a precaution.
• Students at the Deane Porter School in Rumson were moved to the nearby Forrestdale School after a bomb threat was called into the school around 1:30 p.m. K9's and police swept both schools and found no threat.
It’s not clear if these were considered swatting incidents or there is any connection between the threats. In 2015, a series of incidents at schools and other locations across the state, including one at the home of state Assemblyman Paul Moriarty, led to tougher penalties for those charged with making threats, including five- to 10-year prison sentences and a possible fines of $150,000.
Lacey school superintendent Craig Wigley echoed the sentiments of law enforcement in a message to parents: "All threats to our schools or students are taken seriously and investigated thoroughly" and urged parents to talk to their children about the seriousness of such threats.
"Our High Tech Crime Unit is assisting Lacey and Jackson PD here in Ocean County to try and determine origin," said Ocean County Prosecutor's Office spokesman Al Della Fave.
Wreck said his department is "conducting an investigation and we will be in contact with the other jurisdictions to see if there are similarities to the phone call that was received by The Marlboro Jewish Center Annex."
Jackson Police also said that despite the urge to pick up their children after hearing about a threat, parents should stay away. "Officers will need to be pulled away from other duties to respond to anyone attempting to enter the schools without authorization," Capt.Steven Laskiewicz said.
A messages for the Monmouth County Prosecutor's Office has not yet been returned.
Contact reporter Dan Alexander at Dan.Alexander@townsquaremedia.com.
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