ST. GEORGE – Police issued a “Be On Look Out” alert for a white minivan with California plates on Monday in response to man asking questions about elementary schools. The incident led to an additional police presence at area elementary schools on Tuesday.
The St. George Police issued a “BOLO,” or “Be On Look Out” alert to the public in a press release Monday evening after Washington County School District employees contacted police following what they felt felt was a strange and suspicious incident.
WCSD Superintendent Larry Bergeson said that a man entered an elementary school and asked if he could have the addresses of all the elementary schools in the area. The office employees said that they couldn’t give that information out, but told the man he could get it online. The man then left the school.
Bergeson said that the women working in the office found the situation suspicious and recorded the man’s vehicle and license plate number. They then contacted the police.
While looking into the incident, authorities learned that the man, along with another individual, had been at a local restaurant and had asked an employee where the closest elementary school was. The men later appeared at the school where the women reported the incident, Bergeson said.
“There were no threats made,” Bergeson said. Yet the event was “unusual and suspicious enough” to warrant a public alert.
Bergeson said that the school district began initiating extra security measures at schools on Monday, and on Tuesday they had an added an extra police presence at the elementary schools, along with other precautions.
No schools were placed under lock-down at any time, he said.
The police asked the school district to keep the incident as “low key as possible,” Bergeson added, so as not to cause needless panic.
The school district did not release a general statement, although they posted the BOLO alert on its website along with the following: “Washington County School District is taking the necessary precautions to ensure student safety. School will be conducted as usual with safety precautions in place.”
With only limited information initially made available, both Bergeson and Despain noticed the widespread rumors posted on social media about the matter.
St. George Police Sgt. Sam Despain told various media outlets that presently, there is no threat to the schools, and that the primary reason police want to find the men in the minivan is so they can question them.
The vehicle is described as a 2004 Honda Odyssey minivan with lime green stripes and California license plates marked 6PCY687.
Bergeson said it wasn’t likely that the minivan was still in Southern Utah, as an unconfirmed report has placed it in Santa Monica, Calif., he said.
Anyone who has any information concerning the vehicle in encouraged to contact the St. George Police Department at 435-627-4300.
The St. George Police has announced a press conference concerning the incident will be held at 4 p.m. at the city council chambers of the St. George City Hall.
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