CARL JUNCTION, Mo. — Local police say they had three people in custody within 12 hours of break-ins early this week at four Carl Junction schools, thanks primarily to surveillance footage.
Christian Tyler Conrad, 19, of Galena, Kansas, and two juveniles are accused of having broken into the Carl Junction Intermediate School, the junior high school, the high school and the primary 2-3 building early Tuesday, according to the Carl Junction Police Department.
“It was after the janitorial staff left,” said Delmar Haase, Carl Junction's police chief. “They had taken a key fob and were able to enter one school, then took a bunch of keys and were able to enter several of the schools. I think they got it (the key fob) from somewhere else. I’m not sure how they originally got the key fob.”
Janitorial staff and teachers have access to building keys, and Haase said he believes the fob could have been stolen in a separate incident. Several hundred dollars in cash, merchandise and school property were taken.
Conrad and the two juveniles are shown on security video entering the junior high school at about 12:25 a.m. Tuesday, according to the probable-cause affidavit filed in the Associate Division of Jasper County Circuit Court. The suspects were able to gain entry with a stolen school key card and vandalized the boys locker room.
Conrad then broke into the high school building at about 12:40 a.m. with the other suspects by using a knife, which he also used to open other multiple locked areas, including the principal's office, according to the affidavit. The suspects were able to obtain a school master key in one of the offices, and stole $50 from a tech office and $28 from a concession stand.
At about 2:26 a.m., the three entered through the FEMA doors at the primary 2-3 building by using a stolen key fob registered to a junior high teacher and were seen on camera walking toward the primary office building. Unable to gain entry, the suspects walked to the locked interior doors between the intermediate building and the primary 2-3 building. Conrad is shown on camera opening the doors by using a different key fob that had been located in an office at the intermediate building, according to the affidavit.
The document states the suspects walked back to the primary 2-3 office and were able to gain access through forced entry. From there, they stole approximately $300 in cash, as well as an unknown dollar amount in checks. The nurse's key had also been taken, which was used by the suspects to rifle through medication where they stole Advil and Aleve.
Haase said two of the suspects kept their faces covered during the thefts. Even so, they were identified through the schools' camera surveillance footage and taken into custody within 12 hours of the crime. All keys and stolen property have also been retrieved and returned to the school district, according to Haase.
"Because of the video and the fact that our school resource officers know a lot of these kids, they were able to chase them down and find them," he said. “Literally, this happened early morning Tuesday and by early afternoon, we had people in custody and all of the property returned back to the school. The surveillance made the difference. If we didn’t have the surveillance, we might not have been able to identify who they were for a while.”
Conrad has been charged with four second-degree burglary counts and remained in custody in lieu of bond. The minors were turned over to juvenile authorities.