Police: Thoughtless criminals break into Little Red Schoolhouse, wreck 9/11 display

The Little Red Schoolhouse and Museum and the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001. Illustration

It appears not even the Little Red Schoolhouse Museum — one of the most noted buildings in Lyndhurst — nor a remembrance to the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks at the World Trade Center, are off limits to criminals these days.

Here’s why we say this.

Lyndhurst Police Det. Lt. Vincent Auteri tells The Observer on Monday, March 31, 2024, at approximately 7:20 p.m., officers responded to an activated burglar alarm at the schoolhouse, at 400 Riverside Ave.

Upon the arrival of Officer Michael Carrino, he says he observed three people running from the building before they attempted to flee east on Fern Avenue. Officer Carrino immediately identified himself as a police officer at which time the three suspects stopped and were detained without incident.

The three culprits — Adrian Maldonado, 19, of Ramsey; Jordan Batista, 18, of East Rutherford; and Michelle Marinho, 18, of Lyndhurst, were arrested.

Officer Carrino was ultimately joined by Lt. Richard Holicki and Officers Mark Rivera, Michael Walker, Michael Scalese and Anthony Morreale.  The three suspects gained access to the schoolhouse through a basement entrance. Before fleeing the building, they removed the cover page from a 2001 newspaper containing a story on the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

Maldonado, Batista and Marinho were all charged with burglary and released. They are scheduled to appear in court on April 10.  Additional charges are pending.

The original Lyndhurst Little Red Schoolhouse was built in 1804 and was one of the first public schools in Bergen County. The school was knocked down and rebuilt with a second level in 1849.  It was knocked down again in 1893 and rebuilt in its current form as a single level, one classroom, public school.

Editor’s note: The Little Red School House currently serves as the home of the Lyndhurst Historical Society and as a museum of local history.  It was added to the National Register of Historical Places Nov. 11, 1997.

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Kevin A. Canessa Jr. is the editor of and broadcaster at The Observer, a place where he has served on and off since 2006. He is responsible for the editorial content of the newspaper and website, the production of the e-Newspaper, writing several stories per week (including the weekly editorial), conducting live broadcasts on Facebook Live, including a weekly recap of the news — and much more behind the scenes. Between 2006 and 2008, he introduced the newspaper to its first-ever blog — which included podcasts, audio and video. Originally from Jersey City, Kevin lived in Kearny until 2004, lived in Port St. Lucie. Florida, for four years until February 2016 and in March of that year, he moved back to West Hudson to return to The Observer full time. Click Here to send Kevin an email.