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Man arrested in swastika painting at Simi Valley elementary school

 

A 23-year-old man was arrested for allegedly painting swastikas and "threatening comments" on a Simi Valley elementary school that prompted an early dismissal, authorities said.

Stephen Lazarus, of Simi Valley, was taken into custody Monday on felony suspicion of making terrorist threats, vandalism and tagging swastikas, according to the Simi Valley Police Department. Online jail records indicated he was held on $60,000 bail.

Faculty members found the "extensive graffiti" painted across several buildings and windows at Justin Elementary School on Monday morning, police said.

“It was inappropriate and threatening in nature,” Simi Valley police Sgt. Craig Dungan told The Times.

The school was placed on a "lock in," where students were required to stay in classrooms at all times. Officials also opted to release students early, asking parents to pick up their children about noon.

Students who could not be picked up were bused to a nearby elementary school.

Investigators believe Lazarus acted alone and do not think he had "the means to carry out any credible threat," a police statement said.

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— Kate Mather and Joseph Serna

 
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