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Man released after detention over suspicious behavior near Shepard Boulevard Elementary

Friday, September 13, 2013 | 7:37 p.m. CDT

COLUMBIA — A 48-year-old man who was detained Thursday after reports of suspicious behavior at a park near Shepard Boulevard Elementary School was released Friday, Columbia Police Sgt. Joe Bernhard said in an email Friday.

The man was on Shepard Boulevard Park property, watching the school's recess, Shepard principal Jacquie Ward said Friday morning.

"Yesterday, at about 1:45 when the fifth-graders were coming in from recess, they noticed a suspicious man in a van had been watching them," Ward said.

Ward notified police and the school district's director of security. The police also notified a park ranger from the Columbia Parks and Recreation Department, Ward said.

The police and the park ranger detained the man by about 3:30 p.m., according to an email from Bernhard on Thursday.

"Today we are having indoor recess," Ward said. "We have a lot of staff at specific posts at arrival and dismissal to keep everyone safe."

Police do not believe the incident is related to earlier incidents at Cosmo-Bethel Park, Bernhard said in his email.

The investigation of Thursday's incident is continuing.

Supervising editor is Margaux Henquinet.


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