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Two Oxford schools on temporary alert after nearby auto burglary

Two schools in Oxford School District had a surprise safety exercise after two auto burglary suspects were seen close to school grounds.

Oxford Middle School and Bramlett Elementary School were placed under precautionary standby at approximately 11:30 a.m. on Monday, but Oxford Police Department Maj. Jeff McCutchen said students were never in immediate danger. In fact, some might not have known what was going on outside classroom doors.

After receiving a report of a possible auto burglary in the parking lot behind Oby’s restaurant in the Old Town Square shopping center off University Avenue, OPD responded to the scene and learned the last known sighting of the persons of interest was the Oxford skate park.

“You have two schools right close by, so we wanted to take every precaution to ensure their safety,” McCutchen said. “We worked with the [School Resource Officers] at the two schools to get everyone prepared, in case they did end up needing to go into a lockdown.”

However, the situation was quickly resolved. At 12:10 p.m., OPD tweeted that officers had apprehended two auto burglary suspects who had been rifling through unlocked cars. The department also encouraged motorists to make sure their vehicles were locked and any valuables inside were out of sight.

As far as the way the schools reacted to the situation, OSD Superintendent Brian Harvey said he was pleased with the way things were handled.

“There was no direct threat to our schools or anybody in this area, so our School Resource Officers decided the best thing to do would be to put us on a lockdown of sorts,” Harvey said. “People were allowed to move around the building – that’s not what we would do with an imminent threat – but the doors were locked and that kind of thing.”

OPD currently has at least one SRO at each of its schools, tasked with handling everything from outside threats to safety hazards to breaking up fights between students. Monday’s actions, Harvey said, act as confirmation for Oxonians that their children are in capable hands. 

“Just this morning, while it was raining, Officer Brittany Gilleylen was at Della Davidson checking exterior doors, which is exactly what they should be doing,” Harvey said. “We’re confident that we’re able to handle whatever comes our way, because we have these procedures in place.”

At this time, OPD has not released the names of the two people arrested for auto burglary.