Washington County authorities are looking for a suspicious man who asked for a child at Lake Elmo Elementary School this week.

The incident was one of two reports the Sheriff’s Office received in three days regarding suspicious people near the school, Cmdr. Cheri Dexter said. The second proved to be unfounded.

On Wednesday, a man entered the school after hours and asked staff members about a child in an after-school program. The man left when staffers told him he would need to talk with administrators to get the child released, Dexter said.

The man, who didn’t have any contact with students, was unknown to staffers and members of the child’s family, she said. Authorities described him as white and middle-aged with oily, unkempt, white shoulder-length hair.

On Friday morning, the Sheriff’s Office received another report about a man who approached a child at a bus stop a few miles away from Lake Elmo Elementary. That incident was cleared when the office learned the man was a concerned parent, Dexter said.

She said it’s uncommon for the Sheriff’s Office to receive one suspicious person report a week, let alone two. “This is not something we usually get,” she said.

The school has been in touch with Lake Elmo parents as well as the entire district regarding the incidents. Dexter urged parents to go over safety plans with their kids.

“Be cognizant of your kids and your neighborhood kids,” she said.

Anyone with information about the Wednesday incident can call the Sheriff’s Office’s tip line at 651-430-7850.


Haley Hansen is a University of Minnesota student on assignment for the Star Tribune.