Charles Banaciski III charged with unlicensed entry of Montville High School after school staff member reports suspicious activity, school locks down.
Charles Banaciski III, 19, of Bloomfield, New Jersey, was arrested on Thursday, February 2, 2023, for unlicensed entry of a structure, a fourth-degree crime, at Montville High School. Banaciski was caught on surveillance footage entering the high school building at around 6:30 a.m. while wearing a backpack.
A school staff member confronted Banaciski, who allegedly claimed to be a student, but upon further questioning, he excused himself and left the building.
As a precaution, the high school was placed on shelter in place until it was cleared by law enforcement and the Morris County Sheriff’s Office K-9 Unit.
Banaciski was later identified as the intruder and was arrested at his residence in Bloomfield. The investigation remains ongoing, and anyone with information is asked to contact the Montville Police Department, the Morris County Prosecutor's Office, or Morris County Crime Stoppers.
Morris County Prosecutor Robert J. Carroll emphasized the importance of community vigilance in keeping schools safe and urged the public to report any suspicious activity.
Prosecutor Carroll said, “Thanks to the diligent investigative work, a swift arrest was carried out by the Morris County Prosecutor’s Office, Morris County Sheriff’s Office, Montville Township Police Department, and other law enforcement partners. I applaud our law enforcement officers, and especially thank the Montville High School employee who followed their gut instinct and questioned the suspicious individual."
Prosecutor Carroll added that, "During our recent memorandum of agreement signing and security summit, Morris County school administrators reaffirmed their commitment to the safety of our students and educators through collaboration. This swift arrest is the result of attentive staff and a rapid report to law enforcement. May this incident be a reminder to the public that to keep our schools as secure as they can be, law enforcement also needs the assistance of vigilant members of the community. It is critical for the public to report any and all suspicious activity.”
During a virtual court hearing on Friday, prosecutors reported that Banaciski had attempted to take pictures in the school cafeteria, bathrooms, lockers and teacher's lounge before being stopped by the staff member.
At his court appearance, Assistant Prosecutor Matthew Kelly said Banaciski had told police he wanted to go to a high school because he never got the chance himself. Defense Attorney Brittany Calzone stated that Banaciski's grandmother had removed him from high school before he could complete it.
Municipal Court Judge James Sloan agreed to release Banaciski from the Morris County jail pending future court hearings under the condition he avoid contact with any schools and abstain from alcohol and drugs. He was also ordered to undergo a mental health evaluation and to abide by a 10 p.m. to 9 a.m. curfew, set to allow him to continue working as a DoorDash delivery driver.
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