When staff at Holmdel High School in New Jersey started seeing feces at the school's athletic field on a daily basis, they informed the police and began surveilling the area in an attempt to catch the culprit. On Monday, they finally did. As it turns out, the high school poop bandit was the school's superintendent.
"The Holmdel School Resource Officer was alerted by Holmdel High School staff and coaches that they were finding human feces, on or near the area of the High School track / football field on a daily basis," Holmdel police wrote in a Facebook post. "The SRO, along with school staff, monitored the area and was able to identify a subject responsible for the acts."
According to the Ashbury Park Press, school staff allegedly spotted Thomas Tramaglini defecating on the field on Monday morning, and police arrested him at around 5:45 a.m. that day. He was subsequently charged with lewdness, defecating and urinating in public, and littering, according to police, and is scheduled to appear in municipal court on Monday. He's since taken a paid leave of absence from his $147,504 a year job, the Press reports.
It remains unclear why anybody would defecate at a high school track field, let alone on a daily basis. Nevertheless, the Press reports that its readers were broadly supportive of Tramaglini after he was arrested.
"Sometimes people have medical conditions that make things unavoidable, and the charge is urination or defecation," one reader opined to the Press. "He could have simply been jogging and needed to urinate. This headline makes it seem he’s losing his mind and pooping all over town!"
"When ya gotta go ya gotta go," another reader reasoned.
Not everybody was quite as sympathetic, however.
"You would feel that someone with that position has a little more know-how," one local told PIX 11 News. "You know, it's just not something that you do. It's something that we tell our kids, 'no, go in the house!'"
In a statement, the Kenilworth Board of Education said that schooling will continue as normal despite the "challenging times."
"The Board of Education wants to assure faculty and staff, students and parents, that the district will continue its responsibilities without interruption," the board said. "Every day, and especially during challenging times, we are fortunate to have veteran administrators and other dedicated professionals on whom we can rely. We will continue to keep the community informed."
According to the board, Tramaglini was granted a paid leave in part because unpaid leave is only an option "in the face of indictments or tenure charges, as a matter of state law." Although his legal future remains uncertain, Tramaglini almost certainly will not be indicted for this.
Holmdel isn't the only locality to fall prey to a mystery pooper in recent years. In 2017, residents of Colorado Springs told police that they saw a female jogger defecating in front of their homes. One family said that she appeared to be visiting their home at least once a week, and although the "Mad Pooper," as she came to be called, received national news coverage, she was never positively identified.
In a more extreme case, UPI reported in 2015 that a Norwegian golf course had been targeted by a stealth crapper for more than a decade. The groundskeeper of the course said that the perpetrator would frequent certain holes on the course, and although the managers eventually installed high-power spotlights to catch the culprit, the pooper climbed a nearby tree, disabled the lights and resumed his or her business.
While Tramaglini is on leave, Director of Academics Brian Luciani will take over superintendent duties for the district, the board said.