JEFFERSON, Iowa — An Ogden woman was arrested in Jefferson Monday morning when she was found acting strangely in and around the Greene County Middle School.
Jessica Jo Peterson, 36, of 419 E. Sycamore St., Ogden, was charged with fifth-degree theft, third-degree burglary and unlawful possession of prescription medication.
The incident began about 8:15 a.m. Monday, when staff at the Greene County Middle School in Jefferson reported a female wandering around inside the building at 203 W. Harrison St. and allegedly removing items from a locker room, including a duffel bag containing “multiple miscellaneous items of loose clothing, toiletry items and two pairs of shoes,” according to court records.
The female then left the building and entered an unoccupied vehicle nearby, where she allegedly “did take a house key, a flashlight, a tire pressure gauge and a prescription bottle of Alprazolam 0.5mg”, and she left the duffel bag inside of the vehicle.
The female attempted to reenter the middle school building, but school authorities responded by putting the campus into lock-down status. The female then proceeded to enter the Greene County Community School District administration building at 204 W. Madison St., where officers of the Jefferson Police Department eventually made contact with her and identified her as Peterson.
Peterson told the officers she took the items from the school and the vehicle because she was homeless, according to Jefferson Police Department Chief Mark A. Clouse. Officers later spoke with officials in Ogden, who confirmed that Peterson was not homeless but lives on Sycamore Street in Ogden, Clouse said.
Peterson was briefly held at the Greene County Jail before being released on her own recognizance. She is scheduled for a preliminary hearing Jan. 8 in Greene County District Court.
*A criminal charge is merely an accusation, and the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.