Tonawanda News


March 29, 2014

Teen charged for damaging NT press box

Tonawanda News — A Niagara Falls teenager was arrested this week for causing extensive damage to a press box at the North Tonawanda High School, while police are now investigating the possibility that he had an accomplice. 

Isaiah Neal, 17, of Ontario Avenue,  Niagara Falls, was charged at 1:10 a.m. Sunday with second-degree criminal mischief and third-degree burglary, both felonies, for breaking into the press box and smashing its windows with chairs, while also damaging a sound system. 

Police said they received a call from a resident who lives near the school after hearing “screaming and yelling.” 

“When our guys got there nobody was in the press box,” said Capt. Tom Krantz. “They saw someone walking nearby who took off running. We grabbed him and everything matched up. His hands had cuts on them.” 

Krantz said the damage was found shortly thereafter, and while Neal did not cooperate ‘he gave us enough information that we know we’re looking for another person.” The teenager was believed to be intoxicated at the time of his arrest, according to police.

District Superintendent Greg Woytila said he received a call Sunday morning informing him of the damage that may cost up to $10,000 to fix. 

The press box was named after Dick Grapes, a legendary public address announcer and North Tonawanda graduate, who served as the voice of the Lumberjacks for 51 years before retiring in 2009. 

The district is now looking at its insurance options as well as pressing charges, possibly against the family of the teenager.

“It’s really just an empty box up there,” Woytila said. Four folding chairs, glass windows and an amplifier. The rest is just plywood.” 

He noted, however, that repairs will likely be made in the next several weeks. The press box, constructed in 1999, has been boarded up. 

“We’re hoping to have it fixed in April for track season,” he said. 

Neal was arraigned Sunday morning in North Tonawanda City Court and is expected to return March 20 for an attorney’s appearance. He is free on $2,000 bail. 

Those with information on a possible accomplice can call the police detectives at 692-4312.

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