Suspicious man arrested at Bartow school

Alert teachers are being credited with police apprehending a suspicious man who was on the campus of Bartow Elementary Academy on Monday.

Police said about 1:48 p.m., the man was seen trying to open locked doors in the fifth grade hall of the school. A teacher asked the man for his credentials, and he claimed to be a mechanic. He then fled.

The school was placed on lockdown until the man could be caught.

The suspect, Don Stephens, 41, of Lakeland, was immediately located by police officers and was arrested. He will face charges of burglary, disruption of school and trespass on school grounds. He was already awaiting trial for cocaine possession, police said.

Police said children were never in danger.


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