A custodian at Clark Preparatory Academy in Springfield got an unwelcome surprise when she went to check the building over the weekend — an unknown man lying under a classroom desk.
Springfield police officers were called to the school on Sunday on a breaking and entering report.
The custodian noticed several classroom doors were open when she entered the school.
She said the man seemed to be “out of it.” When she saw him, she ran outside and called police.
A police report states officers believe the man used screwdrivers to open a window to the school and get inside. The man was still in the classroom when police arrived on scene.
The man told police he was homeless and was looking for a place to get warm, but officers believed he had other intentions, as a bag containing several pieces of school property was found in his possession.
“The bag contained school laptops, miscellaneous chargers and power cords, school projectors, school clothing, headphones belonging to to students and internet power boxes belonging to the school,” the report states.
Part of the school’s flooring was also pulled up on the second floor.
Police also found a tin bucket, typically used to hold pencils, filled with the man’s urine and left on a teacher’s desk — although the man said he was going to empty it before he left the school.
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Clark Prep principal Stefanie Page said the school was closed on Monday so staff could clean the building from top to bottom.
“We wanted to make sure everything was repaired and everything was checked out,” Page said. “We like to take extraordinary measures to make sure our kids are safe.”
The school does have security cameras, but Page said the footage was still being reviewed on Monday.
The man was arrested for the incident was 36-year-old Jason Sowards, of Springfield.
Sowards was jailed and was scheduled to be arraigned in Clark County Municipal Court on Monday, but refused to come to court.
Visiting Judge Thomas Hanna said his staff told him that Sowards wouldn’t come out of his jail cell.
The judge couldn’t enter pleas for Sowards, but did set his bond at $35,000. Sowards faces charges of breaking and entering, possessing criminal tools and vandalism.
As of Monday evening, Sowards was set to be in Tuesday’s arraignment session.
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