Local News

Schools' Security Breached After Unknown Man Roams Hallways

Posted January 12, 2006 12:09 p.m. EST

— Knightdale police are investigating reports of a man pretending to have business at three elementary schools -- within two miles of one another -- where they say he stole money.

Investigators say the man walked through halls and into classrooms at the Knightdale, Lockhart and Forestville elementary schools.

"Once he got a visitor's pass, teachers and staff passed him in the hall and didn't think twice about it," said Knightdale Police Captain Richard Pope.

Police say the man they are looking for used fake names at two of the schools when he checked in at their front offices. At the third school, they believe he entered through a locked side door when someone walked outside.

Posing as a janitor, the man was eventually noticed at two of the schools and was asked to leave. School officials were able to get surveillance video of his car and let parents know what had happened through a letter.

"Just the thought of somebody going through the halls, walking into classrooms and nobody knowing who he is and what his background is -- that very much scared me," said parent Kelly Davis

Police believe the man they are looking for may have a child enrolled in the Wake County Public School System because he seemed to know the sign-in process.

"We are disappointed in what occurred, but we believe the system worked in a number of ways," said Wake County Public School System spokesman Bill Poston. "The children were safe during the entire time. The person was identified and asked to leave."

Knightdale police, however, say what happened shows just how simple it can be for someone to get into a school.

"Whether it's a terrorist attack or somebody wants to kidnap a child -- anything -- it's just easy access," Pope said.

School system security officials have met with all three schools and are encouraging school staff to ask visitors more questions and to connect them to a student or staff member before giving out a visitor's pass.

Officials stress that it is very important to have schools that are open to the public so that people can have access and that parents feel welcome.

Authorities urge anyone with information about the man to contact the Knightdale Police Department or CrimeStoppers at

(919) 366-CRIME