Security Tightened after School Robbery in Texas

Surveillance cameras and a new door-locking system have been installed at St. Peter the Apostle Catholic School in White Settlement after an armed robber stole the petty cash box and hit the school secretary, the principal said Thursday.

The robber entered the unlocked front door of the school at 1201 S. Cherry Lane about 4:40 p.m., Principal Barbara Graybeal said.

He pointed a gun at the school secretary and demanded that she open a safe containing petty cash, Graybeal said.

"He just wanted some money, and he found a door open. That's all I can figure," she said.

The front door is usually locked at 3:30 p.m. but had inadvertently been left open, she said.

The robber probably got $200 or less, she said.

After emptying the safe, the man hit the secretary in the face, forced her into a hallway closet and locked the door, Graybeal said. He told the secretary to wait five minutes before making any noise.

The secretary complied because he threatened to harm the seventh-grade girls practicing basketball in a nearby gym if she didn't.

The secretary, whom Graybeal declined to name, is a "heroine," she said.

After the secretary waited what she thought was five minutes, she began pounding on the door. Children taking a break from basketball practice freed her, Graybeal said.

The secretary had a mild concussion but has returned to work, she said.

The robber has not been caught, she said.

A spokesman for the White Settlement Police Department did not return phone messages Wednesday and Thursday.