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Man Breaks Into School During Blizzard - The Police Immediately Begin to Search for Him After They Read a Note He Left Behind
Man Breaks Into School to Save Dozens of People Stranded During Historic New York Blizzard
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Man Breaks Into School During Blizzard - The Police Immediately Begin to Search for Him After They Read a Note He Left Behind

Breaking into a school during a blizzard may seem crazy, but one man proved that sometimes in life you have to do things to survive.

Being stuck in a snowstorm is something that many people fear. When snow is coming, people stock up their homes and stay in. However, there are times when the snow comes quicker than we can anticipate. In trying times, snowstorms can be lethal if people cannot get shelter or help right away.

The Reason Why One Man Broke Into a School

handwritten note
Cheektowaga Police Department Facebook

Jay Withey was driving in Cheektowaga, New York on Friday, December 23rd when his truck was running low on gas. He was just east of Buffalo, New York, which was about to get hit with a historic blizzard. Hundreds of people were in need.


Withey left his truck and began to walk, looking for help. He then discovered that there were other people stranded as well. These people also had little to no fuel and no hope in the blizzard. Withey decided to look for some shelter.

Eventually, Withey came across Pine Hill School and decided, in an act of sheer need, to break the window. He then went back to retrieve the people that he had seen stranded along the way. He ended up getting them to the school to help seek shelter in the blizzard.

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“My mission was just to keep going out and grabbing as many people as I can and to just keep going. I just kept walking, and I walked until I cried and I couldn’t walk any further," Withey told NBC News.

Withey ended up saving 24 people and even several dogs who were also stranded along the road. He did not leave the window shattered and without any explanation, however. He ended up leaving a note at the Pine Hill School in order to explain his actions and why he did them.

“To whomever it may concern, I’m terribly sorry about breaking the school window and breaking in the kitchen. Got stuck at 8 pm Friday and slept in my truck with two strangers just trying not to die," he wrote in the note.

Why Police Searched for the Man Who Broke Into a School

a man wearing an orange and black jacket
Cheektowaga Police Department Facebook

The people who were in the school ended up leaving the following day, Christmas, as the blizzard was dying down. Withey even found a snow blower that he used to help the individuals. Using the blower, he cleaned off their cars and dug them out. This helped people get home for the holidays.

Following the break-in, however, the Cheektowaga Police Department began looking for Withey. Not because they wanted to press charges, but because they wanted to honor him in his act of heroism.

In a Facebook post, the Cheektowaga Police Department wrote:

"Do you recognize "Jay"?

The selflessness that people showed to help others during the storm is what WNY is really made of. A keyholder of the Pine Hill School received an alarm on Friday evening of glass break. Unfortunately, due to the deteriorating weather conditions we were unable to respond immediately to the alarm. Once we could send an officer to check the building they found one of the windows had been broken out. The officer made entry and checked the school but nothing seemed out of place. They thought that maybe the damage was caused from the hurricane winds till they saw a handwritten note left on a table. The note started with an apology for causing damage to the window and having to borrow the snow blower to rescue others that had ran of out gas and were trapped in their cars.

The note was signed "Merry Christmas, Jay". We watched the video surveillance and witnessed people taking care of people. There was a freezer full of food but no one touched it. They only ate what was necessary to stay alive. They used the gym for the kids to play and pulled the smart boards out of the classrooms to watch the news for updates. They had 2 dogs they were also attending to. When they were finally able to leave safely, you never would have known anyone was there. They plugged the smart boards back in, cleaned up all the tables and things that they used. This group of amazing people took care of each other and the building they found shelter in. Neither Erie One Boces or Cheektowaga Central administration want any charges filed. We want to identify "Jay" and have him recognized for his going above and beyond actions that saved lives. Please help us identify 'Jay.'"

How One Man Proved That Not All Heroes Wear Capes

group of people in warm jackets
Cheektowaga Police Department Facebook

Eventually, people online recognized Jay — his own cousin commenting on the post. The police department was connected with Withey and was able to thank him in a proper way for his act of bravery.

As it turns out, the people who Withey had saved that night became bonded. As they all spent the night together in the school, they became good friends. Withey even shared a photo of the group together with the Cheektowaga Police Department so that they can see for themselves.

RELATED:Police Officer Finds Homeless Woman Living in Her Car With 11-Year-Old – His Surprising Behavior Is Recorded by Passersby

"I was one of the people in the school...Me and my coworker slept in the car running out of gas till Jay saved us....Thank you to an amazing and selfless man...Jay Withey," shared Sabrina Andino.

The administration thanked Jay for leaving the school "unharmed" during their stay. He merely went to the school's cafeteria to get some essentials and the nurse's office for supplies. No charges were brought up against him for breaking the window and breaking in. In fact, kind citizens all over social media even offered to help pay to repair the school's window.

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