Police Reports: Cocaine at Monroe Elementary, a rash of burglaries, fraud

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MONROE, CT — A staff member at Monroe Elementary School found a powdery substance inside a third grade classroom that tested positive for cocaine Thursday morning.

“We immediately turned the situation over to the police department which, in turn, initiated an investigation, including a canine search of the room while the children were outside,” Superintendent of Schools Joseph Kobza wrote in a letter to parents, which was posted on Facebook.

“That investigation is ongoing, and we will continue to partner with the police department with the goal of bringing this to resolution,” Kobza continued. “All families of students in this particular classroom have been contacted.”

On Friday, Kobza and police told The Sun there were no further updates since Thursday.

“At the end of the school day, the police department performed a thorough canine search of the entire building to ensure the safety of all students and staff,” Kobza wrote to families. “No further substances were discovered during that follow-up search. If further details are revealed, we will share them with the community.”

“We also ask that you take caution if you decide to share any of this information with your children,” Kobza wrote. “We do not believe that any students (even the students in the classroom) have any knowledge of today’s incident. If you feel you need to talk to your children about this, please reach out to the school counselor for suggestions.”

Anyone with information on the incident is encouraged to call the Monroe Police Department at 203-261-3622.

Garage burglaries, thefts

Police responded to a rash of garage burglaries and two motor vehicle thefts over the past week.

On Thursday morning, a Westview Drive woman told police her garage was broken into sometime overnight and vehicles were rummaged through. No entry appeared to have been made into the house, according to police.

A key fob was stolen, police said.

Police received another complaint of a garage burglary Thursday. A Country Ridge Drive resident told officers someone then tried to steal her vehicle sometime overnight.

However, while backing out of the garage, the vehicle was blocked by another vehicle parked in the driveway. Police said the thief left the vehicle sticking halfway out of the garage.

Police said the thief or thieves possibly entered the garage through an unlocked side door. The resident’s keys were stolen, according to the report.

An unlocked black 2020 Jeep Grand Cherokee was reported stolen from a driveway on Country Ridge Drive Thursday morning. Police said a spare set of keys were left in an article of clothing inside the trunk of the vehicle.

The Jeep also had $500 worth of miscellaneous personal items, the report said.

The theft took place sometime overnight. Police detectives assigned to the case followed up the next morning and, using Sirius XM GPS, tracked the Jeep to a location on Diamond Street in New Haven.

It was later seen on Goffe Street at 8:15 a.m. Detectives called the New Haven Police Department for assistance and city officers recovered the stolen vehicle in the parking lot of a housing complex on Goffe Street.

In another incident on Country Ridge Drive reported Thursday morning, police said someone entered a garage overnight. The homeowner does not believe anything was stolen, according to the report.

Police said the garage was left open after the incident.

A Doris Drive woman who reported her Volkswagen GTI stolen Monday, told officers she believes she saw it listed for sale on Facebook Marketplace two days later. Police are still investigating the theft.

The Volkswagen GTI was stolen from the victim’s driveway sometime between 7:30 p.m. Sunday and 11:30 a.m. on Monday.

Police said the vehicle was unlocked with a key inside the pocket of a coat left in the car, along with $100 in small bills and the vehicle title in the glovebox.

Arrest for stolen checks

A Bridgeport man was charged in the theft of checks from a Monroe woman after allegedly cashing one for $930 at the Webster’s Bank branch in Stratford.

Robert Hernandez, 42, of Fairfield Avenue, turned himself in on a warrant Wednesday, charging him with conspiracy to commit second-degree larceny, criminal attempt to commit second-degree larceny and illegal possession of a personal identification device.

He was released on $15,000 bond for a May 13 court date.

On Feb. 8, 2021, the Webster Bank branch in Monroe contacted the victim to inform her attempts were made to cash fraudulent checks in her name at bank branches in Stratford, Orange and Milford.

Police said the only successful attempt was the $930 check cashed in Stratford.

When Hernandez allegedly tried to cash a check at the Orange branch, police said the teller asked for a driver’s license and made a photocopy. Hernandez gave his own license, leading to his arrest, police said.

Police said there are pending arrest warrants for two other suspects, who were alleged accomplices.

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