By Brendan Connelly, Online News Editor
// During the Contra Costa County Championship Swim Meet at Acalanes High School this past weekend, Lafayette police briefly detained and questioned a man who has frequently come onto campuses across the Acalanes Union High School District (AUHSD).
This man, first spotted at Acalanes in late spring of this year, has been seen taking pictures of swimmers, usually girls, at the Acalanes pool throughout the summer. This past weekend, security recognized and detained him during the championship swim meet, holding him for police questioning before releasing him due to a lack of evidence.
Community members first spotted him at the three other AUHSD schools, Campolindo High School, Las Lomas High School, and Miramonte High School. A custodian who works at multiple sites across the district recognized him when he first came to Acalanes.
“One day we had a substitute custodian here, Rick, and because he goes to different sites, he knew about it, and so he calls me on the radio and says ‘hey I need you to come up right away’, and so I came right here outside of [Room 209] and he was there on his bike,” Athletic Director and math teacher Randy Takahashi said.
During the first sighting, Takahashi and the substitute custodian confronted him before the man fled. They recorded a brief video that shows a man at the age of 50, approximately five feet and nine inches tall with a slender build and dark brown hair, taking off on his grey bike with black bags on the back of it. Every time he was seen on the Acalanes campus, he had this bike in his possession.
According to Takahashi, during the Lafayette Swim Conference hosted by Acalanes on July 17 and July 18, a young girl reported that a man attempted to coax her into the bathroom with him. This past weekend, Drue Kendell, a registrar at Miramonte High School and security for special athletic events, detained the man for the police with the help of Head Custodian Francisco Lopez and other members of the security team.
“We had the city swim meet two weeks ago, and this guy tried to approach a little girl in the pool bathrooms, and we reported it to the police, and they looked at the videos in order to catch him. This [past] weekend, we had the county meet and he came again. He didn’t do anything to anybody but he was around. We caught him and we called the police,” Lopez said.
A parking attendant at the championship swim meet first recognized the man, and quickly following this, Kendell found the man’s bike before he approached her. Upon this confrontation, the man attempted to flee, but Kendell successfully kept him on site until the police arrived.
“He was very agitated when I told him he could not take his bike at this time. Three of us were holding on to his bike. At this time, I told him the police were on their way and he needed to talk to them first. Then he pushed his bike down, pushed the swim meet official, and pushed me to try and run towards the pool area. I grabbed his shirt knowing the police would be there in seconds and just held on until the police arrived,” Kendell said.
According to Lopez and Kendell, the officers were able to hold him for questioning. The police learned the man’s name and background, and he allegedly admitted to attempting to lure the young girl into the bathroom two weeks earlier.
Because of the lack of concrete evidence, the police did not arrest the man but warned him that he would be arrested immediately if he came onto any of the AUHSD campuses. The police could not search the man’s bags because they did not have a warrant and were not making an arrest.
School administrators are working to make sure that all AUHSD and local schools are aware of the events that took place this past weekend.
“[I think it is important to make] sure the other three sites know what happened here and even notify the kindergarten through eighth-grade districts that serve our area to let them know,” Takahashi said.
In the event that a student spots him on campus, they are to report him immediately to any teacher or school administrator.
“They need to report it to a teacher, administrator, coach immediately and say ‘hey we have seen this guy on campus’… We need to make sure everybody on our campus is aware. Just because this guy was told [not to] show up on any campuses doesn’t mean he won’t,” Takahashi said.
If there is an update, Blueprint will revise this story.