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Scores arrested for burglary over alleged prank at Teaneck High

Many people may believe that burglary offenses only occur at a residence. In reality, the New Jersey burglary statute essentially involves the unlawful entry of a structure (there are other provisions, but burglary does not need to involve a home). Additionally, theft is not a necessary element of a burglary charge; the government may pursue burglary charges based upon allegations of unlawful entry (or remaining after hours in a building) with the intent to commit an offense.

A recent story from Teaneck, New Jersey, highlights how broadly the burglary statute may apply as far as the government is concerned.

Police arrested more than 60 people early Thursday morning related to what authorities believe was a senior prank at Teaneck High School. Among those taken into custody were 24 adults and 38 juveniles. The juveniles were turned over to their parents. All of those detained apparently are students at the high school. Authorities say that an alarm tripped around 2:00 in the morning, drawing a police response.

Authorities say that students decorated lockers in the school with hot dogs, spread petroleum jelly, tipped desks and engaged in other antics while inside the school during the early morning hours. Police say that when law enforcement responded to the burglary alarm, some people ran, while others tried to hide inside the school.

The police response was immense, as 15 agencies reportedly sent officers in to address the alleged mass prank.

The issues that the kids may face are significant. Authorities say that the 62 people taken into custody will face charges of burglary and criminal mischief.

Source: NJ.com, “More than 60 students arrested in Teaneck High School prank,” Noah Cohen & Myles Ma, May 1, 2014

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