Portage man arrested for phone threat to school

Seth Jovaag

A Portage man was arrested last week after he allegedly admitted to leaving a threatening voice message on a teacher’s phone at Netherwood Knoll Elementary.

The man, 47, left the message on a fourth-grade teacher’s phone at 12:57 a.m. last Friday, according to a press release from the Oregon Police Department.

In the message, the man allegedly said he had intentions of “testing the school’s security system” by coming to the school and observing staff reactions, the release said. He also mentioned the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting.

The teacher discovered the message before school started and notified Oregon School District officials, who contacted police.

Classes were not interrupted, though morning recesses at the school were cancelled that day, said superintendent Brian Busler.

Police were able to trace the call to the man’s cell phone in Portage. Portage police arrested him and brought him to Oregon, where he allegedly told local authorities he’d been intoxicated and dialed the wrong number before leaving the message, the release said.

“The caller stated he thought of his son’s school and their security protocol so he decided to leave a message related to this issue,” the release said. “At no time during questioning did he make any specific threat, nor did investigators have reason to believe he intended harm directed at Oregon students and/or staff.”

The man was taken to Dane County Jail and faces tentative charges of disorderly conduct and unlawful use of a telephone.

The incident came one week after an Oregon Middle School custodian discovered a .22-caliber rifle shell near a school locker around 5:30 p.m. on Feb. 22. That incident also prompted a police investigation, but no other shells or evidence were found and school the next day was not affected, Busler said.

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