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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."

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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