WESTERLY — A 16-year-old local boy is facing charges after the police said he broke into the Bradford School on Friday and sprayed a fire extinguisher in the gymnasium while wearing a clown mask.
Westerly police charged the teenager, who the police said is enrolled as a student at Ocean State Academy in Cranston, with breaking and entering a building during the daytime, vandalism, obstructing an officer in the execution of duties, resisting arrest, and destruction of property greater than $100.
According to a police report, officers were called to the Bradford School property around 11:40 a.m. after receiving a complaint from a Parks and Recreation employee who works in the building. The woman reported that she first saw someone in a yellow sweatshirt walking by her office window before then heard the sound of one of the doors being forced open.
The police said that the woman, who thought it was a custodial worker, realized it was an unusual time for such a visit and decided to check it out.
“When she got to the gym, she looked in and saw someone in there with a yellow sweatshirt and wearing a clown mask who was spraying a fire extinguisher around the room,” Westerly Police Chief Shawn Lacey said. “Obviously, the whole scene gave her a good scare.”
The police said that the suspect took off running into a nearby wooded area, leaving footprints behind in the foam that had been created by the fire extinguisher. Lacey said the police were later able to match the suspect’s shoes to the footprints that were left behind.
Officers were alerted about the incident and a short time later, a patrol officer located the teenager banging on a door and shouting along Boiling Springs Lane. When the officer approached him, the police said the boy became belligerent and began cursing at the officer while refusing commands. He again took off running, but the officer was able to catch up and take the boy into custody.
The teenager, who police said has a history of criminal behavior, was taken to court for arraignment and later released despite requests that he be held. Lacey said they were called back to the boys home later that evening after the boy became aggressive and began intentionally breaking dishes. Upon arriving, officers said he again fled on foot into a wooded area.
“He will be facing additional charges related to that incident,” Lacey said.