Muncie resource officer arrests teen accused of wandering around school with 10 knives in coat

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MUNCIE, Ind. – A Muncie teen was arrested after police say he was found wandering the halls of Central High School with 10 knives strapped to his body.

The arrest was made thanks to the quick actions of the school’s resource officer.

Thomas Owens III was taken into custody just minutes after students had been released for the day. Police don't believe he actually planned to hurt any students, but he is facing several criminal charges.

The 18-year-old, who had previously been removed from the school, was spotted by an employee who quickly notified the school’s resource officer of the potential threat.

"I stopped him and noticed his coat was bulky like there were things underneath so I did a pat down for weapons," said officer Brandon Qualls.

Qualls says even though it was in the mid-80s in Muncie on Wednesday, Owens was wearing a leather coat.

Qualls says during his search of Owens he found a set of lock picks and a total of 10 knives strapped to the teen’s body.

"It's a little unnerving that anyone would come with that many knives and dressed the way he was. It makes you wonder what his real intentions were yesterday," said Qualls.

According to the affidavit, after his arrest Owens said, "He always wears his leather jacket in summer months and always carries several knives."

Investigators say Owens also told police he knew he wasn’t supposed to be at the high school and hadn’t been a student for a few years, but wanted to hang out with a friend at the end of the school day.

The affidavit concludes, “Owens said he had no intention of hurting anyone at the school. Police found no evidence of radicalization or searches for mass shootings/stabbings."

"We're certainly very proud of officer Qualls' response," said Muncie school board president Jim Wilson. "We're pleased that it may have averted any tragedy."

Whatever the suspect's motivation may have been, officer Qualls says student safety is always the top priority.

"Anytime someone brings a weapon to school, we’re going to treat it as a threat. We need to make sure staff and students are safe, so we take it very seriously," said Qualls.

Owens faces charges of trespassing and 10 counts of possession of a knife on school property. He’s being held in the Delaware County Jail on a $12,500 bond.

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