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Student suspected of robbing store caught in school lot

Springfield building used ‘lock out’ safety plan during arrest in parking lot.

Springfield High School heightened security Friday morning when police spotted and detained a 17-year-old robbery suspect in the area, according to the Springfield City School District.

Authorities said the suspect was a student who was going to school minutes after he allegedly showed a weapon and robbed a Radio Shack in Upper Valley Mall.

The teenager is accused of robbing the store around 11 a.m.

German Twp. police said the teen walked into the Radio Shack and passed a note to an employee that demanded money. He allegedly showed a handgun in his waistband and made off with an undetermined amount of cash.

Clark County Sheriff Gene Kelly said the suspect’s vehicle was located in the high school parking lot by an off-duty deputy monitoring scanner traffic.

The suspect was seen crossing school property, academy principal Kirk Koennecke wrote in an email. Springfield High’s school resource officers helped their colleagues in arresting the suspect at the north end of the property.

School staff asked teachers to follow a “lock out” procedure and close their doors but to continue teaching during the incident, district spokeswoman Kim Fish said.

A lock out is when officials verify that all doors to the building are locked. No one is permitted to enter or leave the building while it is in effect.

This is different than a lockdown, when students are not permitted to leave classrooms.

“We have several steps of security,” Fish said. “(This) is just a different procedure.”

“Students are generally unaware of this,” she added. “Students in class were not affected.”

According to German Twp. Police Chief Michael Stitzel, the teenager not only confessed to robbing the Radio Shack but also another store inside the mall on Jan. 18. He faces two counts of aggravated robbery.

The gun suspected of being used in Friday’s robbery was later determined to be a BB gun.

Springfield City Schools Superintendent Dr. David Estrop said the district will cooperate with authorities during their investigation. The district will also investigate, and its response could range from a suspension of up to 10 days to an expulsion of up to one year.

“It depends on what we uncover,” Estrop said.

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