EASTCHESTER, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Police in a Westchester County town say they are close to making an arrest after a frightening incident at a school serving children in kindergarten and first grade.
A homeless man got past security and spent seven minutes inside, unsupervised, and he may have tried to do the same in a nearby town, CBS2’s Tony Aiello reported.READ MORE: Suspect Charged With Murder, Arson For Bronx Apartment Fire That Killed 2 In 2018
“We’re all a little frazzled in the community,” one parent said.
Anxious parents brought children on Monday to Waverly School in Eastchester, which opened on a two-hour delay so police could brief staff on an unnerving incident.
“What went wrong is someone was let in the building and our school didn’t follow standard operating procedure,” PTA co-president Natalie Vero said.
Vero was seen closely questioning Eastchester Police Chief Tim Bonci, who confirmed that on Friday an older homeless man walked with a cane and talked his way past the school security officer.
The unauthorized visitor spent seven minutes wandering the school and allegedly stole $65 from an unoccupied office, before staff spotted him and escorted him outside.
“We should have been put in lockdown immediately and the man should have been apprehended and the police be called, not an hour later, while it was occurring,” Vero said.READ MORE: COVID Restrictions: New York City Restaurants Can Increase Capacity, New Jersey Raises Gathering Limits
Police reviewed surveillance video and are confident the man did not approach or interact with any of the 460 kids who attend Waverly.
Back in Eastchester, the district said the guard who worked for Summit Security has been relieved of her duties for allowing the intruder inside. She had only been on the job two days, officials said, adding there will be two security guards at the school’s entrance for the rest of the academic year, CBS2’s Ali Bauman reported.
“We need to make sure established protocols are followed to the letter and we do need to improve some of the seams or gaps that sometimes appear in protocols,” Superintendent Dr. Rob Glass said.
“No one should be allowed through that door unless they have a purpose and they are on a list. Otherwise, anybody could walk in. You need to identify any potential threat when it’s in front of you.” parent Lauren Baccello said.
At a meeting with administrators on Monday night, parents said security only works if it’s properly implemented.
“Shock. I mean this is our babies. We’re sending them to school and this is what happens,” Jillian Pecilla said.MORE NEWS: COVID Vaccine In NYC: City Officials Modifying Outreach Efforts As Demand For Vaccines Plummets
“I want to know why Eastchester police are not in our schools at all times, around the clock,” Vero said. “I want that in our budget. I don’t think bulletproof glass is going to work if someone is willing to let you in.”