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School Lockdown Thwarts Kidnapping Suspect, Cops Say

January 3rd, 2023 by Guest Communications

December 15, 2022 

Jackie Martin, The News Herald, Southgate, Mich

(TNS) -When school safety procedures fail in a time of crisis, the news spreads far, wide, and fast.

When a potential danger is averted, the message isn’t always delivered with the same attention.

Johnson Early Childhood Center in the Taylor School District in Michigan had its safety measures tested on Dec. 6 when a man came to the preschool building and allegedly tried to leave with a 4-year-old boy.

He did not have authorization to take the child.

In this case, Taylor officers believe the school “got it right.”

When the man, who has been identified as Michael Todd Keffer, allegedly attempted to get inside the school building, he was denied entry at every door.

According to Taylor Police Officer Andrew Borg, who also serves as the school district’s resource officer, everything worked as it should have that day.

“Every exterior door was locked,” Borg said. “You have to go to the intercom (outside) and speak to the main office. They determine if your name is on an emergency card for the student.”

According to the officer, Keffer had thoughts of picking up the child and running off with him and his mother.

He allegedly sent the boy’s mother text messages telling her of his plan.

Police said she immediately alerted her husband and the school of his intentions.

Borg said his advances were unwanted by the boy’s mother and the school went on lockdown to help prevent children from walking the halls during this time and to eliminate the chance of anyone from the inside opening the doors.

A warning about the incident was relayed from the main office to the head of security and to Borg.

A significant police presence responded to the school.

Upon their arrival, Keffer had gone to his vehicle and was sitting inside.

“He never got into the school,” Borg said. “There is no telling what would have happened.”

Inside the vehicle Borg said adult and children’s clothes were packed.

He was arrested without incident and later charged with stalking the child and his mother.

Keffer was given a $50,000 bond with restrictions if it was paid.

Borg said he is no longer in police custody in the Wayne County Jail.

He is being monitored on a court-ordered tether.

Keffer, who resides in Brownstown Township, allegedly spray-painted graffiti on all sides of his house, shed and vehicle recently.

He resides on Princess Street.

He also is believed to have broken out numerous windows at his house.

His vehicle windows are smashed, too.

Witnesses told township police they saw Keffer damage his own property.

The graffiti consists of random words and phrases, including the name Tom Hanks, the Gibraltar Police Department, 666 and Satan.

Gibraltar police Chief Rick Tanguay said he has no idea why Keffer has a dislike for his department, saying he called and left a couple of messages on the department’s voicemail that did not make sense.

A check of the department’s records shows there is no history of Gibraltar officers having any involvement with Keffer.

He was arrested in Flat Rock just prior to the incident in Taylor.

Flat Rock police Chief Jerry Page said Keffer went to the Baymont Inn in his city and got into an argument with a manager there.

According to police, he allegedly pushed the woman after becoming angry when she asked him to leash his dog while inside the property.

He was charged with a simple assault misdemeanor.

Taylor schools signed on with The Lockout Company’s SmartBoot System earlier this year to add an advanced safety tool in the district.

It consists of a steel plate that when inserted in a designated spot in the classroom floor prevents doors from being breached.

It just went live in the district.

While it is yet another safety measure in the district to help keep students and staff safe, Borg said it was not necessary to use it in this case.

He said the device is more commonly used when there is an incident inside the building.

©2022 The News Herald, Southgate, Mich. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

This article appeared on Emergency Management News and is shared with consent:

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