Pen Believed to Be Rifle Round Closed School

Hopatcong High School was locked down Wednesday evening after the discovery of what initially was believed to be live ammunition.

A pen that was initially believed to be a rifle bullet caused the evacuation of Wednesday evening, police said.

What appeared to be a rifle round was found outside the school's main office at about 4 p.m., said Thursday. The item had ".338 CAL" imprinted on the casing around the primer, police said.

The primer was still intact and the item had the weight and appearance of a live round, police said.

Officials locked down the school, which was not in session but was open to sports teams at the time, police said. The Sussex County Sheriff's K-9 unit assisted with conducting a search of the building and grounds, but no other rounds or explosives were found, police said.

Officials reviewed video footage of where the item was found and discovered it fell out of a backpack while a student was running, police said. The student was identified and showed authorities at the police station that the item was a pen and not a bullet, police said.

"The bullet that would come out of the casing when fired has a pen attached to the end that would seat up against the powder," the police statement said. "Unless one pulled on the bullet portion to try and separate it from the casing, there is nothing to show that this is not a live round."

Michele Guttenberger September 13, 2012 at 07:03 PM
Wow! - What a big "Show- and -Tell " mishap.
Mr. Confidential September 13, 2012 at 07:14 PM
Are you kidding me, they had to have the kid come down to the station so he can show them it was just a pen. Your telling me that they wouldn't figure that out themselves
pothole September 13, 2012 at 10:05 PM
And if it was found to be real and something happen, it would be..." why didn't the Police react " . There dam if they do and dam if they don't!
jazzman September 13, 2012 at 10:11 PM
im just imagining that ahhhhhhh moment down town when that freshmen came down with her distraught parents to show all them men in blue how that over sized bullet turned into a pen,like cave men to a match
Barry September 13, 2012 at 10:12 PM
Great investigative work!! Lol
Michele Guttenberger September 13, 2012 at 10:30 PM
Mr. Confidential - Wow! the Kid got to do a "Show-and-Tell" at the police station? Hope the HPD paid attention to his presentation. I guess the HPD learned something new about novelty ammunition. You are never too old to learn :-)
Rich Smith September 13, 2012 at 11:34 PM
Wish they would give as much attention to drugs in that school as they do to pens.
tliberty September 14, 2012 at 12:16 PM
Just a slight over reaction!!!!!!!
Mr. Confidential September 14, 2012 at 12:46 PM
My point to my last comment was, your telling me that these trained officer's maybe some with military backround couldn't tell if it was real or not.
Debbie September 14, 2012 at 02:08 PM
All I know is that I just heard it on a radio station that broadcast from Atlanta...they are laughing at us....thank God they couldn't pronouce the name right...lol....
Tammy September 14, 2012 at 07:25 PM
So this kid brings in a "novelty item" that is INTENTIONALLY made to look like exactly what the police thought it was and the police are the fools? While all of you are laughing at the police has it entered your minds (I know it's hard to squeeze things in when it's almost closed all the way) that perhaps at some point the police did discover it was a fake and decided to bring the kid in at the inconvenience of his/her parents to teach him/her a lesson and perhaps cause the parents enough irritation that they didn't just laugh it off as all you are doing?
TakingAStand September 15, 2012 at 08:20 AM
The way I read this article is... someone found this item outside the main office. NOT the police, but THEY called the police because THEY thought it was a bullet. Take a look at images of "bullet" pens and tell me... would YOU know the difference? I agree with pothole.... damned if they do, damned if they don't. SO WHAT if it wasn't real... all are SAFE. Isn't that the important thing? Who in their right mind would allow this item to be brought to school anyway? As for the radio station.... let them laugh .... but first send them into THEIR schools to look for guns and REAL bullets.....
In The Woods September 15, 2012 at 10:49 AM
Terrible writing but aside from that, the article neglects many of the details like how the poor kid has been punished for this. http://www.njherald.com/story/19541478/bullet-pen-prompts-high-school-lockdown When I was in middle school in the '90s, I used to have a bullet pen and none of my teachers batted an eyelash. These days, we have such a drastic over reaction that we do nothing but look like fools as we send in the bomb squad for a bullet. For the love of all that was once good in this world, can we start acting sane again?
james September 15, 2012 at 05:35 PM
These days kids are shooting up the schools, so i dont mind a little over reaction. Ignorance at its best!
Rich September 15, 2012 at 08:26 PM
Some people are amazing. All they do is complain and criticize and usually without any real facts. It was close to 9/11, we had several Americans killed over seas and they are attacking our embassies, school violence has been out of control, several universities have been closed to bomb threats, and we should ignore a "bullet". I am glad the schools and police department acted they way they did to make sure all the children are safe. That is a primary goal of the schools. If something happened, then the whole group of critical people that constantly criticize everything about this town, would have been viciously attacking the schools, police, and administration. They followed procedures that are in place for such situations and they did their job. Too bad some of you would rather complain than be thankful that this time nothing happened.
In The Woods September 15, 2012 at 11:13 PM
James, if you were a shooter then you would know there is a far cry of difference in weight and texture between a real round and a pen. Like I said, I had them as a kid and they were pieces of light plastic and the primer didn't even look real as it usually said, "Made in China."
TakingAStand September 16, 2012 at 10:18 AM
@ In The Woods, maybe your teachers never “batted an eyelash” because they saw you use it as a pen and didn't find it laying in the hall. Wow, a punishment.... so what is it? Detention? Suspension? Maybe this student and others will learn a lesson and maybe some parents too. What amazes me is that some chose to comment on this article to once again bash the police yet there are other articles about DUI arrests, drug arrests, thief, rescue and other police related incidents where no comments appear! Shame on you all! The police and school followed protocol.... get over it. Instead of bashing them for their actions try commended them for their reactions. In other words... grow up! Again the important thing is ALL WERE SAFE! Try paying more attention to the more important issues... drugs and drinking for a start.
Mom Average September 16, 2012 at 10:46 AM
Seriously....this is made to look like a bullet & should certainly NOT be allowed in school. Whomever saw it did the right thing by calling the police..as stated above: Better safe than sorry. No debate there. HOWEVER, the fact that it took the police 2 hours to determine it wasn't an actual bullet is the "ha-ha" here. I mean, you or I may not know the difference, but shouldn't the "experts"?? Not bashing the Hopatcong police here, but this story in itself is a bit embarrassing. I do agree too with the other comment above that the HPD needs to start taking action about the MAJOR drug problem in this town....
Jimbo September 17, 2012 at 07:57 PM
The Police released this story to the media if I am not mistaken. Apparently they had never seen anything like this becuase it was so realistic. I am sure they are laughing at themselves and want other agencies to be aware of this situation. If you look at the Hopatcong Police facebook page, it is loaded with drug arrests. Brendan used to put everything in, this editor doesn't like to put Police stuff in. What additional things would you want the Police to do Mom Average?? When they lock up your kid, it would be that they are too aggressive. It seems to me that the Police cant win !!!
In The Woods September 18, 2012 at 09:54 AM
I think we can all agree that something needs to be done about drugs and drinking here.


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