Security was tightened at Athens High School Thursday following reports that two AHS students stole a box of handgun ammunition from a local sporting goods store.

The two male students, aged 18 and 17, are believed to have taken a box of .25-caliber automatic pistol rounds from Wulf Outdoor Sports on State Highway 19 South at around 9:30 a.m. Thursday. At the time, the students were truant from school.

No threat against the school district was reported Thursday.

The students’ names are not being released because the incident is still being investigated. Athens PD Lt. Mike Davis led the initial investigation.

“This raised concerns with us, with the recent school shootings,” Davis said. He said the vehicle driven by the students, a 1995 Chevrolet four-door sedan, was located in the AHS parking lot shortly after 2 p.m.

The two students had borrowed the sedan from another student for their trip to Wulf Outdoor Sports, Davis said. Neither of the students was taken into custody.

“No one’s under arrest yet,” Davis said. “It’ll be forwarded to (the Criminal Investigation Division).”

Davis said it is unknown if the students will face charges for the theft of the ammunition. The box of cartridges was valued at $13.99, he said.

“Wulf is ready to prosecute, if they can prosecute,” he said. “They’ve double-checked their shelves, and they’re saying the ammo is stolen.”

Wulf Outdoor Sports Manager Mike Mayo said he saw the theft and notified the store’s front desk to intercept the suspects, but by then, the box of cartridges was not visible on their persons. Afterward, Mayo called both the APD and AHS.

“I’m going to say (the suspects were) 17 or 18,” Mayo said. “They basically had on Athens colors, Athens (school) uniforms.” He added that he had never seen either of the students at the store before Thursday.

Athens Independent School District Superintendent Fred Hayes said AHS teachers were informed of the possible danger and told to keep the doors to their rooms locked.

“We got the call at 9:50 (a.m.),” Hayes said. “We did notify teachers to make sure that they were following safe school practices.” He said the extra precautions did not constitute a campus lockdown.

“We’ve been getting calls from parents asking if the school was on lockdown. It was not,” he said. “If we were on true lockdown, we would have had the gates locked at the (parking lot) entrances, the front doors would be locked, and kids would not be able to go between classes.”

Hayes said he was informed that the students were seen driving south on Hwy. 19 after leaving Wulf Outdoor Sports.

“We contacted Palestine ISD to let them know to be on alert,” he said.

After the theft was reported, APD alerted AHS Police Chief Vanitta Dawson. APD also increased patrols in the vicinity of the high school.

Hayes said the two students will be punished for truancy based on the student code of conduct.

“They skipped part of class,” he said. “Typically, students make up that time in school or serve on-campus suspension.”

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e-mail dgordon@athensreview.com

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