NEW FRANKLIN: A 21-year-old Manchester High School graduate with aspirations of becoming a police officer was arraigned this afternoon in Barberton Municipal Court on charges of impersonating a peace officer and carrying a deadly weapon in a school safety zone.
Ryan A. Worlow of Stow, who enrolled Aug. 18 in Stark State College's Continuing Education Ohio Police Officers Academy, also was charged with criminal trespass.
He is accused of entering Manchester High School, Manchester Middle School and Nolley Elementary School on Monday, armed with a Glock 22 40-caliber handgun and dressed as a Summit County sheriff's deputy.
''As a 2006 graduate, he [Worlow] was one of us,'' Manchester Superintendent Sam Reynolds said. ''That, plus it being the first day of school, made access even easier for him. . . .
''As I think back, it's really very scary. I'm both extremely angry that something like this would occur, but I'm also extremely grateful that nobody was hurt.''
Worlow was arrested Tuesday by New Franklin police. He is being held at the Summit County Jail in lieu of $50,000 bond.
Worlow said he had ''not done this type of thing before,'' New Franklin detective Michael Korach said. ''We're continuing our investigation and we'll see if that statement is true.''
Korach said Worlow had ''no police record that we could find.''
Korach would not say what the intruder did at the three schools.
He ''spent a substantial amount with students and staff at the schools,'' Korach said. ''He was at the middle school around noon.''
Korach said the man's ''behavior raised some red flags. That caused people to start talking with each other and pretty soon, somebody called our department.''
Korach said his department received a tip at 1 p.m. Tuesday and began an investigation that led to Worlow. He said Worlow works as a security officer at Chapel Hill Mall.
''This was a very serious crime and we acted quickly to ensure the safety of the students and staff at the schools,'' Korach said. ''Through the cooperation with the staff at Manchester, we were able to promptly identify the person and make an arrest by 5 p.m.''
Korach said Worlow was not dressed as a deputy when arrested, but a search of his apartment in Stow turned up evidence.
New Franklin police said they confiscated four weapons — a Glock 22 40-caliber handgun, a Springfield XD-40 40-caliber handgun and two rifles — and ammunition.
Korach would not say whether the Glock 22 was loaded when the intruder was visiting students and staff at the three schools.
Police said they also recovered a uniform with deputy sheriff patches on each shoulder of a black shirt and gold badge No. 821 with the words ''Summit County Deputy Sheriff'' inscribed.
Officers said there were also a gun belt, with a collapsible baton, pepper spray, two sets of handcuffs and a gold nameplate with ''Ryan Worlow'' etched into it, and standard-issue black shoes.
The clothing and equipment were ''indistinguishable from a true deputy's uniform,'' Korach said.
Reynolds, who is in his 39th year at Manchester schools and his fifth as superintendent, said he remembered Worlow well.
''He at least was here from the third grade on, but I think he had all 13 years in the Manchester schools,'' Reynolds said.
Sgt. Bob Saraceno of the Summit County Sheriff's Department's investigative bureau said the uniform and equipment were realistic. He said the intruder probably acquired them through purchases from magazine ads or on the Internet.
''There were some minor inconsistencies that only a trained person would notice,'' Saraceno said. ''But to the lay person who doesn't deal with this, it is a deputy sheriff's uniform.''
Saraceno said Summit County Sheriff Drew Alexander will intensify his campaign to tighten regulations allowing the manufacture and sale of items that closely resemble official police uniforms and equipment.
Korach said New Franklin police would work with Manchester schools to ''look at the procedures in place. This is definitely something that needs to be addressed so that a better level of security for the students and staff can be provided.''
Reynolds said, ''We've always had a friendly atmosphere in the Manchester school buildings, but unfortunately, I'm afraid things are going to have to change because of this.
''We will have to take a long look at our safety procedures and make revisions. We'll have to make things tougher in terms of access to the buildings. We almost have to create a fortress at the school to ensure maximum security.''
Bill Lilley can be reached at 330-996-3811 or firstname.lastname@example.org.