SYLVANIA TWP, Ohio (WTVG) – It’s unlikely that any unwanted visitors will get past the front doors at Whiteford elementary.
It’s thanks to new technology called Raptor. It’s located in the entryway of the school and requires anyone coming in to first register and then scan their license or state ID, before even setting foot in the hallways.
“They are not buzzed in through the door or allowed into the building until they’re cleared. It does a record check on their background,” Dr. Adam Fineske, superintendent at Sylvania Schools said.
That safeguard provided some peace of mind after a recent run-in with an unknown man in the lobby.
“The gentleman was approached by our preschool staff, asking what he needed and why he was here,” Fineske said of the incident.
That man, was Troy Ames, 36. Wednesday, he showed up at the elementary school. Staff notified the principal and eventually the police.
“Our staff went through a lot of safety training throughout the past couple of years and really did exactly what they were trained to do,” Fineske said.
Police say Ames was outside on the bench when they arrived. He was eventually taken into custody and charged with trespassing.
“He still ignored those [no trespassing] signs and went into the building and then sat in the lobby,” Sgt. Bob Colwell, Sylvania Township police department, said.
But police has more questions about his intentions because of a prior kidnapping conviction.
According to Maumee police reports from 2002, Ames tried to take an 8-year-old from her backyard, knocking out one of her teeth in the process.
He served more than a decade in prison and is now a Tier 1 sex offender.
“We were able to develop a timeline on where he’d been that day, how he got to where he was,” Sgt. Colwell said. “It wasn’t like he planned to get inside the school that day or anything like that.”
Still, in a world where school violence is a real threat, Whiteford’s leadership didn’t want to take any chances.
“I think a year after Parkland and all the things that we’ve dealt with, school safety-wise, it’s always on our minds. Our top priority in every school district is to make sure our kids are safe.”
13abc has talked with a number of Ames’ close friends who say he was leaving Flower hospital the day this happened. They say he was there trying to get treatment for some mental health problems.
When he wasn’t admitted, despite what people close to him describe as “a deteriorating mental state,” he started to walk home. On his way he stopped at the school to take shelter from the elements.
While his friends say they don’t condone his actions, they say he was not helped as he should have been.