Crime & Courts

Police: Purse with handgun left at Harvard school

HARVARD – A Wisconsin woman has been charged with unlawful use of a weapon after police said she left her purse – with a handgun inside – at Harvard High School.

Kathleen Blank, 51, of N728 Peters Road, Sharon, Wis., was arrested about 7:30 a.m. Wednesday. She showed up at the school to claim the purse left Tuesday night after a school-related activity, police said.

About 6:30 Wednesday morning, a driver’s education teacher who was with students for an early-morning class found the purse on a desk in a multipurpose room, said Harvard police Deputy Chief Mark Krause.

The teacher opened the purse to look for identification and found the handgun – a Kel Tec .380-caliber semiautomatic, Krause said. There was identifying information in the purse and a school resource officer, who was on his way to the school at the time, was contacted, he said.

Krause declined to say whether the gun was loaded, but said a magazine was in the purse.

He said Blank may have forgotten the gun was in her purse.

“At this point in the investigation, I don’t believe she brought it with her to do any ill will or to harm anyone,” he said.

Blank is not employed by District 50. Krause declined to say whether she has a child who attends the school.

Regular classes had not started for the day and the school was not locked down.

Illinois is the only state that has no provisions allowing citizens to carry concealed handguns. It was unclear whether Blank had a concealed carry permit for Wisconsin.

Unlawful use of a weapon is a Class 3 felony typically punishable by up to five years in prison.

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