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WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 7, 2007
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School locked down during police chase

By Seth Burkett
sburkett@decaturdaily.com 340-2355

An elementary school went on lockdown while Decatur police chased an accused shop-lifter through an area of Southwest Decatur on Tuesday.

Francis Nungester Elementary remained on modified lockdown for about 15 minutes during the incident, which occurred shortly after noon, said Phil Hastings, city school safety supervisor.

Wal-Mart loss prevention officers approached a man and woman after observing them stealing from the store, said police spokesman Sgt. Steve Campbell.

"The female cooperated, but the male took off running. He ran back behind (the store) and across Cedar Lake Road, through the parking lot of Cedar Key Apartments. We were concerned he might come up on school property where there are children. You never know," said Campbell.

Police notified school officials, who put the school on modified lockdown while police searched the area.

Officers caught the suspect shortly after. He and the woman face misdemeanor theft charges.

During a modified lockdown, instructors keep all students inside, lock exterior doors and monitor all entrances. Classes and inside activities continue as normal.

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