Teaneck senior prank attempt leads to arrests

Anthony Johnson has more from Teaneck. (WABC)
May 5, 2014 7:21:51 AM PDT
Sixty-two students were arrested Thursday after police said they broke into their high school overnight for a senior class prank, urinating in hallways, greasing doorknobs with petroleum jelly and taping hot dogs to lockers.

Some of the students were still wearing the class of 14 sweatshirts as they were being led into court early Thursday.

Police say the teenagers had gone on Twitter to organize a senior prank night. Multiple classrooms and hallways were vandalized.

Officers responded to a burglar alarm at Teaneck High School around 2:30 a.m. Thursday. They found desks flipped over, chairs broken, graffiti on the walls, silly string on the floors and balloons throughout the building.

Students scattered, but police chased them through the neighborhood. Police from more than a dozen neighboring towns plus county law enforcement officers were called in to help. Police dogs were used to find kids who were hiding.

"It is possible that a few got away, but the majority were caught," Acting Police Chief Robert Carney said.

Carney said the students told officers that it was a senior prank - an annual tradition at the northern New Jersey school of 1,300 students, though it is usually not this involved. As they were arrested, Carney said, some students were scared but others were laughing.

"If this was a senior class prank, I just don't believe that a lot of them realize the seriousness of it as far as breaking into the building," Sgt. John Garland said. "That's a burglary and I don't think they understand that. It's a very serious offense."

A total of 62 students were arrested. At least 24 were 18 and face charges of burglary and criminal mischief. The other 38 are juveniles and are being released to their parents.

The school was cleaned up in time for classes on Thursday.