Police Detain Man Who Allegedly Exposed Himself Near School

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COLUMBIA - Columbia police detained a man after students at Shepard Elementary School said he exposed himself in a park near the school Thursday afternoon.

A fifth grade student at the school said his class was at recess when we saw a man standing by a blue van who appeared to be naked.

The student told his teacher and all students went inside the school.

Shepard Elementary School principal, Jacquie Ward, said the students were at recess at about 1:45 p.m. when they saw the man. The teacher reported the information to the office immediately after the student told the teacher.

Columbia Public School's safety and security coordinators arrived quickly, according to Ward.

"Our kids were so great," said Ward. "They actually helped with the police in arresting the suspect."

Once all students were indoors, the man got inside the van, according to the student.

He said the man was wearing a small tie-dye shirt, hat, and looked like he did not have pants on. 

Ward said the man drove off but returned at the end of the school day. She said students helped identify him as the same man.

Columbia police officers and a park ranger detained the man at 3:30 p.m. and took him to the police department for questioning.

Ward said she and other officials are waiting on a police report. She said if the man is not arrested, Shepard will hold recess indoors on Friday.

Police say the incident is not believed to be related to the sexual misconduct investigation near Bethel Park.



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