A male suspect was apprehended for reportedly unlawfully entering West Elementary School in the early hours of Friday, December 29, and is facing multiple charges, including identity theft, larceny, and possession of drug paraphernalia.
Deputies from the Swain County Sheriff’s Office discovered Daniel Gregory Whelan, 36, from Haywood County, in the school’s cafeteria. Allegedly caught red-handed, he was in the midst of pilfering various items, which included five frozen dairy products, a Tombstone Pizza, assorted snack cakes and soft drinks, a can of Dust Away, a packet of wipes, whipped cream, and a half-gallon of chocolate milk, as detailed in the arrest warrant.
Authorities also claim that Whelan was in possession of a glass pipe containing traces of burnt marijuana at the time of his apprehension.
Upon his arrest, Whelan initially provided a false identity, stating his name was Kyle Hoppe. Subsequently, deputies ascertained his real identity later that Friday morning. Allegedly, Whelan knowingly used another person’s actual name, Kyle Hoppe, with the intent of evading legal repercussions.
As of Friday morning, the sheriff’s office indicated via social media that Whelan was being held in Swain County jail.
Whelan has an extensive criminal record in Haywood County, having been previously arrested for a range of offenses in recent years, including larceny, assault on a female, various drug-related charges, and multiple counts of trespassing.