MT. PLEASANT, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — A state run facility has become a big local problem for one Westchester County town.
Residents of Mt. Pleasant say students from Hawthorne Cedar Knolls are constantly sneaking off campus and into their homes, cars, and businesses.
Local leaders are fed up and want Governor Andrew Cuomo to intervene.
“All of a sudden this door opens to this young woman. She sticks her head in and says, ‘hello, hello, can I sue your phone?” Sean Pickering said.
She said the 17-year-old girl came out of nowhere last Monday, showing up inside his Mt. Pleasant home with a box cutter.
“Her mindset seemed very unusual, clearly not functioning the way you’d imagine,” he said. “The fact that she thought she needed a knife for whatever reason is terrifying.”
Terrifying, but not unusual to see a student from the facility walking off campus and into a neighboring home.
“We’ve had kids leaving there, robbing people, breaking into homes,” Carl Fulgenzi said.
Town Supervisor Carl Fulgenzi said the state run school houses troubled kids and teenagers at an open campus facility, meaning students can leave at any time, often with little or no resistance.
When they cause trouble, Mt. Pleasant Police are the ones answering the call.
“They don’t pay any taxes, they don’t pay for our services, our police are constantly there, fire department ambulances, all these services are provided to the facility on the backs of the taxpayers of Mt. Pleasant,” Fulgenzi said.
Residents are fed up.
Fulgenzi and State Senator Terrence Murphy wrote a letter to Governor Cuomo demanding the state police put ‘boots on the ground’ to help with ‘unnecessary drain of local taxpayer resources for the state’s problem.’
On Wednesday, the town will hold a community meeting in hopes of forcing Albany’s hand.
“We need the governor to say enough is enough. We either close the facility or run them properly, but our residents don’t deserve this,” Fulgenzi said.
A spokesman from the governor’s office said state and local police will be stepping up patrols in the area until the security concern is resolved.
A spokesperson for the Jewish board that runs the school said they look forward to discussing concerns at the community meeting.