GREENFIELD — A Greenfield man arrested last week after being accused of trespassing at a New Palestine elementary school told police he’d been coming to the school’s playground for several weeks to perform “security checks.”
As 48-year-old Larry Shrout made his second court appearance this week, more details came to light regarding what led to Brandywine Elementary School, 413 E. County Road 400S, to go on lockdown briefly on Feb. 27.
Shrout was on school grounds without permission twice that day, which put staff members on edge, according to police reports.
Teachers spotted Shrout around 11 a.m. calling to kindergartners who were on the playground at recess, beckoning them over to where he stood along fence, court documents state.
When they confronted Shrout about why he was on school grounds, he told them “that he had brought the sunshine for the children,” court documents state.
Shrout drove away from the school as teachers called police, and sheriff’s deputies caught up with him a short while later. During his conversation with the officers, Shrout said he’d visited the school several times in the last few weeks “doing what he described as security checks,” court documents state.
Officers told Shrout he wasn’t to go onto any Southern Hancock Schools properties again; but about 30 minutes later, teachers at Brandywine called 911 again to report Shrout had returned to the school despite the order from police, court documents state.
Shrout did not have any weapons with him during either incident, and school officials do not believe he posed a serious threat to student safety. But the man never visited the school’s office to receive a pass to be on school grounds, officials said.
Shrout was arrested after this second incident at the school, and he was formally charged with criminal trespass.
Criminal trespass is typically charged as Class A misdemeanor unless its committed on school property, a scientific research facility or a facility belonging to a public utility, in which the charge is bumped to a Level 6 felony, which carries a sentence of six months to two and a half years.
Shrout is being held in the Hancock County Jail on a $1,000 cash bond; but even if he posts that bail money, he will not be released, records state.
The trespass allegations led prosecutors to revoke Shrout’s bond in an unrelated case brought against the man in November, in which he was accused of battering a police officer. He’ll remain in the Hancock County Jail for the time being because of that case, officials said.