MORRIS COUNTY — The alleged intruder at Montville High School on Thursday, February 2, was arrested. Charles Banaciski III, 19, of Bloomfield, has been charged with unlicensed structure entry, a crime of the fourth degree.
Surveillance footage shows an unknown adult male arriving at Montville High School at approximately 6:30 a.m. and walking around the building while wearing a backpack. A school staff member discovered him. The staff member confronted Banaciski, who allegedly claimed to be a student. Upon further questioning, Banaciski excused himself, left the building, and drove away.
As a precaution, Montville High School was placed on shelter in place, until the building was cleared by law enforcement and the Morris County Sheriff’s Office K-9 Unit.
A subsequent investigation identified Banaciski as the suspected intruder. He was arrested at his residence in Bloomfield. The investigation remains ongoing.
Questioned about his motives, Banaciski told police he wanted to go to a high school since he had never had such an experience himself, Assistant Prosecutor Matthew Kelly said. Brittany Calzone, the Bloomfield man’s defense attorney, said her client was raised by his grandmother, who had taken him out of high school before graduating.
Prosecutor Carroll said, “Thanks to the diligent investigative work, a swift arrest was carried out by the Morris County Prosecutor’s Office, Morris County Sheriff’s Office, Montville Township Police Department, and other law enforcement partners. I applaud our law enforcement officers and especially thank the Montville High School employee who followed their gut instinct and questioned the suspicious individual.
During Friday’s hearing, Municipal Court Judge James Sloan questioned why the doors of the school were unlocked at 6:30, stating that it was “disturbing” Banaciski was able to enter the school. The school may need to reassess security measures, he said.
Sloan agreed to release Banaciski from the Morris County jail pending future court hearings under the condition he avoids contact with any schools and abstains from alcohol and drugs. He was ordered to undergo a mental health evaluation and abide by a 10:00 p.m. to 9:00 a.m. curfew to allow him to continue working as a DoorDash delivery driver.
During our recent memorandum of agreement signing and security summit, Morris County school administrators reaffirmed their commitment to the safety of our students and educators through collaboration. This swift arrest results from attentive staff and a rapid report to law enforcement. May this incident remind the public that to keep our schools as secure as they can be, law enforcement also needs the assistance of vigilant community members. It is critical for the public to report any and all suspicious activity.”
Anyone with information is asked to call the Montville Police Department at (973) 257-4300, the Morris County Prosecutor’s Office at (973) 285-6300, or Morris County Crime Stoppers at 1-800-743-7433. Persons reporting any information to Crime Stoppers may remain anonymous. Information on how to leave an anonymous call or text message can be found on the Crime Stoppers Program website by clicking here.
Editor’s Note: An arrest or signing of a criminal complaint is merely an accusation. Despite this accusation, the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until he or she has been proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.