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Lock-down lifted at Lake Elmo school; potentially armed man still at large

A Lake Elmo school was put on lock-down this morning while Washington County authorities searched for a potentially armed man suspected in an attempted theft incident.

The lock-down was later lifted at Oak-Land Junior High, according to a 9:29 a.m. email from district officials stating the area around the school had been searched and was cleared.

Washington County sheriff's deputies and Woodbury police continued to search for a man suspected in an attempted snowmobile theft.

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Washington County Sheriff's Office communications coordinator Tom Frazer said deputies were called at about 5:30 a.m. to a Lake Elmo residence for a theft in progress. Officers arrived and immediately took two people into custody, though one male escaped the scene.

The two people in custody told police the third person may have had a gun, Frazer said.

According to a District 834 news release, police requested staff at Oak-Land Junior High - a school attended by some Woodbury and Afton students - to go into lock-down "as a precautionary measure due to safety and security protocols of being within a one-mile radius of a potential situation," the release states.

Frazer said Washington County deputies and Woodbury police entered the perimeter - near Lake Elmo Avenue and Hudson Road - and conducted a search aided by a Minnesota State Patrol helicopter.

"They searched it thoroughly with dogs and didn't come up with anybody," Frazer said.

The suspect remains at large.

District 834 officials said students and staff were not in danger at any point during the incident.

"It was standard safety procedure to initiate a lock down as requested by authorities who were dealing with a situation within a mile radius or so of the school. The situation they were dealing with had nothing to do with the school or on school grounds," the release states.

Mike Longaecker

Mike Longaecker is the regional public safety reporter for RiverTown Multimedia. His coverage area spans St. Croix and Pierce counties. Longaecker served from 2011-2015 as editor of the Woodbury Bulletin. A University of Wisconsin-River Falls graduate, Longaecker previously reported for the Red Wing Republican Eagle and for the Forum Communications Minnesota Capitol Bureau. You can follow him on Twitter at @Longaecker

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