Police have arrested a man seen outside of a Whiteland school earlier this week.

James P. Snodgrass, 62, Columbus, was arrested on a charge of public indecency three days after a suspicious car was seen at Whiteland Elementary School.

On Monday, a school employee told police a car was parked near the playground while children were playing. She approached the vehicle, and believed the man was touching himself, but he drove away, according to the police report.

School officials sent a letter to parents, and the school on Center Street in Whiteland was put on a soft lockdown, where visitors and people around the school are all closely monitored, said John Venter, school spokesman.

About 450 kindergarten through fifth graders attend the school.

Whiteland Elementary School. Scott Roberson / Daily Journal
Whiteland Elementary School. Scott Roberson / Daily Journal

Police were able to track down Snodgrass from the vehicle description from school employees. After speaking with police and telling them he had been touching himself in the school parking lot, he was arrested, the police report said.

Snodgrass told police he gets urges and children usually calm him down, but that didn’t work this time, the report said.

A school employee noticed his phone when he was in the car, but Snodgrass told police he was not taking pictures of the children, the report said.

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Annie Goeller is managing editor of the Daily Journal. She can be reached at agoeller@dailyjournal.net or 317-736-2718.