HANCOCK COUNTY, Ind. – A Greenfield man was arrested on a trespassing charge at an elementary school.
Tuesday morning, police were called out to Brandywine Elementary School on a report of a suspicious person. Teachers told police a man was at the fence calling out to Kindergarteners during recess.
“They’re out having a good time and you’ve got somebody at the fence yelling at your kids. It’s scary,” said Carolyn Whiteside, a Brandywine grandmother.
School staff called police, but the stranger left before investigators arrived. Shortly after, officers pulled over 48-year-old Larry Shrout.
“Law enforcement did exactly what they were supposed to do there, they did give him that formal notice of like ‘hey this isn’t a place for you. You don’t need to be here. You don’t have formal business here,’” said Hancock County Prosecutor Brent Eaton.
Shrout was warned, but apparently that didn’t work. Less than an hour later, he allegedly returned to the school where he was arrested.
According to court papers, when officers asked Shrout why he was there, he told them "he brought the sunshine for the children."
“It’s certainly a concern. In this incident the school acted appropriately, they saw something they acted quickly to contact local law enforcement,” said Eaton.
Shrout’s exact intentions are unclear, but it’s enough to worry Whiteside, who has two children who attend Brandywine Elementary.
“I mean, you hear all these different schools and everything is happening. You’re never too cautious. I’m so thankful that somebody, whoever it was, called in and they responded quickly and everybody is safe,” said Whiteside.
Shrout allegedly admitted this wasn’t his first time at the school. Court papers reveal he told detectives he had been there in the past few weeks doing so-called "security checks." Those previous cases were reported to law enforcement at the time.
“Obviously, law enforcement and everybody in the community takes our school safety extraordinarily serious,” said Eaton.
The charge is elevated to a felony since the crime happened on school grounds.