A 25-year-old Vauxhall man entered Jonathan Dayton High School Tuesday, claiming he was a ninth-grader wishing to enroll, police said.
Concerned the man looked much older than a high school student, school officials requested a form of identification. The individual claimed he did not have any but stated his name was "Jason Burns."
To diffuse any potential problems, school officials provided him with a packet of enrollment forms and asked him to go home and have a parent complete them.
Upon exiting the building, the individual was stopped while walking along Mountain Avenue by detectives Danielle Kahora and James Mirabile. When asked to identify himself, the individual, who was still wearing a visitor name tag bearing the name "Jason Burns," stated that his name was Carl Walden and had identification in that name showing he was a resident of the Vauxhall section of Union and was 25 years old.
Walden was placed under arrest after a check found the municipal courts in Andover and Sparta had issued bench warrants for his failure to appear on traffic tickets with a combined bail of $1,000. He was also charged with criminal trespassing into a school, a fourth-degree felony, as well as disorderly conduct and harassment.
"This individual would not divulge his reason for being at the school claiming to be someone who, as a ninth-grader, would be in his early teens when in fact at 6-foot-1 and 265 pounds, he was actually 25 years of age," Chief of Police John Cook said. "The subject did not have any weapons but quick thinking by school officials in calmly ushering him outside where police detectives confronted him reduced any possible threat that may have been posed."
Walden was remanded to the Union County Jail in Elizabeth in lieu of bail set in the amount of $5,000 and has an initial appearance date in Union County Superior Court set for Monday.