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Published: Thursday, 10/5/2006

Rifle found near school in Napoleon was stolen

NAPOLEON - A rifle found near Napoleon's West Elementary School, which led authorities to lock down all Henry County schools Tuesday afternoon, was stolen that morning from a house about five blocks away on Park Street and is not thought to have been a threat to any school, Napoleon Police Chief Robert Weitzel said yesterday.

"We're considering it an unfortunate coincidence to a burglary," he said. "But I wouldn't change anything I did."

Chief Weitzel called in six or eight officers on overtime Tuesday and the Henry County Sheriff's Office called in extra deputies after the rifle was found in a guitar case about 90 feet from the school.

The subsequent lockdown was the first Chief Weitzel said he could recall in his 26 years with the department.

The burglary is thought to have happened at 914 Park St. before 9:30 a.m. Tuesday, according to tips received by police. Along with the rifle, a handgun and other items were taken. Police don't know why the burglars set the rifle down near the school fence, though not on school property.

"You won't know until you catch 'em," Chief Weitzel said.

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