Police are searching for a man who broke into a Buffalo-area school on Dec. 23 – not to charge him with any crimes, but to thank him for his selfless actions that likely saved several lives and two dogs during last week’s brutal winter storm.
The man, who police are calling “Merry Christmas Jay,” left a note explaining that he broke a window on Friday evening so that he could bring several people inside Pine Hill School in the Buffalo suburb of Cheektowaga.
“I’m terribly sorry about breaking the school window [and] for breaking in the kitchen,” the note reads.
“Got stuck at 8 p.m. Friday and slept in my truck with two strangers. Just trying not to die. There were 7 elderly people also stuck and out of fuel. I had to do it to save everyone and get them shelter and food and a bathroom.”
A keyholder at the school had received an alarm about a break-in on Friday evening, but police couldn’t immediately respond due to the deteriorating weather.
When an officer eventually made it to the school later that weekend, he found the note from “Merry Christmas Jay.”
When the Cheektowaga Police Department pulled surveillance footage from inside the school, they “witnessed people taking care of people.”
“There was a freezer full of food but no one touched it. They only ate what was necessary to stay alive. They used the gym for the kids to play and pulled the smart boards out of the classrooms to watch the news for updates,” the Cheektowaga Police Department said.
“They had 2 dogs they were also attending to. When they were finally able to leave safely, you never would have known anyone was there.”
At least 39 people died from the winter storm, which pounded Buffalo on Friday and Saturday.
The National Guard was going door to door in New York’s second-largest city on Thursday and officials warned that more bodies could be found.