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Norfolk man charged following incident at school posts bail

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NORFOLK — The 60-year-old Norfolk man whose actions led Norwood-Norfolk Central School officials to lock down their buildings Friday morning posted a $100,000 bond Saturday and was released from jail.

State police charged Steven R. Wells with third-degree criminal possession of a weapon, first-degree harassment and fourth-degree stalking Friday following an early morning incident at the school. He was wearing a shoulder holster with a black Desert Eagle BB pistol, which is considered an imitation pistol, beneath his jacket, troopers said.

According to documents filed with Norfolk Town Court, Mr. Wells arrived at the school at approximately 7:20 a.m. and asked a secretary if he was in the right building to see teacher Kaylene Pernice.

“He said he had something he had to give to her, and I asked him if he could just leave it for her,” the secretary said in her statement to police. “He advised me he had to give it to her in person by orders of his boss. He said he was from Syracuse and had to give it to her.”

The secretary told troopers she told Mr. Wells she would check to see if Ms. Pernice had arrived at school yet, and the visitor asked if he could use a bathroom. The secretary said she directed Mr. Wells to the faculty bathroom and then contacted Ms. Pernice and informed her there was a visitor to see her.

She said Ms. Pernice immediately suspected the visitor might be Mr. Wells, said he was stalking her and urged the secretary to contact an administrator. She said high school Principal Robin Fetter responded to the area, intercepted Mr. Wells when he left the bathroom and took him to a school office.

Mr. Wells was denied access to the school by the administration, and law enforcement was notified. He was taken into custody without incident in the middle school office, according to state police. They said because of the lockdown procedures initiated by school administration at the beginning of the incident, Mr. Wells was not able to gain access to the interior of the school, and no students were placed in any type of danger as a result of the incident.

Ms. Pernice, in a seven-page statement given to state police, said she that had met Mr. Wells approximately two weeks earlier and that his behavior had become increasingly erratic in the days before Friday’s incident.

Mr. Wells reportedly called and texted her numerous times over the next few days and suggested he wanted to buy tickets so that she and her son could join him in Florida. He also offered to buy tickets for Ms. Pernice and her friends to attend a concert at the Turning Stone Casino in Verona. She rejected those offers.

She said over the next few days Mr. Wells continued to call and text her with minimal response. She said he asked her Jan. 21 whether he could see her later in the week, and she told him she was not interested.

That led to seven text messages between 1:40 a.m. and 5:11 a.m. Jan. 22, and Ms. Pernice told troopers that she told Mr. Wells to stop calling and texting her. But he reportedly continued to call and text Ms. Pernice. “I would not take his calls, and he would leave voice mails on my cellphone,” she said in her statement to troopers.

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