A woman in a stolen car was arrested moments after she went inside Princeton Elementary School Wednesday afternoon. Around 2:20pm, Johnston County sheriff’s deputies received a tip a stolen Nissan Sentra was located in a parking lot at the school on Holt’s Pond Road.
Before deputies arrived, WTSB News has learned a woman in the stolen car got out and went inside the school. She reportedly failed to stop at the front office and less than a minute later exited the school building. The woman did not approach any students, according to school officials who spoke to WTSB on the condition of anonymity, but failed commands by several staff members ordering her to stop.
Deputies identified the woman as 40 year-old Crystal Holland Thompson of E. Wilson Street, Kenly. Thompson was found in a field on Holt’s Pond Road adjacent to the school. A second suspect in the stolen car fled into a wooded area next to the campus and could not be located.
Several parents and school staff members expressed concern to WTSB News on Thursday that Princeton Elementary School was never placed on lockdown. Even though Thompson had left the building in less than a minute, parents we spoke with questioned why the school was not placed on lockdown while officers searched for the male suspect in the woods adjacent to the school.
Sheriff’s Captain Jeff Caldwell told WTSB News by the time officers arrived, Thompson had already left the school building, was spotted in the field, and was immediately detained. Officers also said the male suspect had fled into the woods and was no longer on the elementary campus. The male suspect never went into the school building.
The decision to place a school on lockdown is made by school administrators and not law enforcement.
Thompson was charged with felony possession of a stolen vehicle and felony probation violation.
Thompson was convicted in August of this year for felony methamphetamine possession and given a suspended 6 to 17 month prison sentence on the condition she remain on probation for 12 months. She was charged with the offense by Smithfield Police in July after a vehicle stop on Brogden Road yielded 1.9 grams of meth and drug paraphernalia including one used and 20 unused syringes and a metal spoon.
Thompson was booked into the Johnston County Jail Wednesday afternoon under a $150,000 bond.
The stolen Nissan, valued at $20,000, was recovered from the school parking lot and towed away.