10/30/05 — Officers want to talk to man seen at school

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Officers want to talk to man seen at school

By Jack Stephens
Published in News on October 30, 2005 2:07 AM

The man who roamed the hallways at Rosewood Elementary School and evaded law enforcement officers for two hours Thursday has been identified as a man from Durham, Sheriff Carey Winders said.

But Conrad Alexander Burke, 26, will not be charged, because he has not committed a crime, Sheriff's Detective Sgt. Rick Farfour said Friday.

Winders said Wayne and Durham authorities want to speak to Burke to find out why he was at the school.

"We would like to talk to him and see what his intentions were," said Sheriff's Maj. Ray Smith. "He really hasn't committed a crime, but he raised some eyebrows and suspicions."

Winders said Burke has "an extensive criminal record, but nothing involving children or sex offenses." The charges against him include larceny and drug possession.

But the only charges filed against Burke in Wayne County -- felony breaking and entering, larceny and possession of stolen goods and three misdemeanors -- were dismissed, according to court records.

Smith said Burke entered the school office on the pretext of registering a student. Burke got the form and asked to use a restroom. Office employees lost sight of him, but he was seen later elsewhere in the school. A teacher asked if needed help, and he said he was looking for the principal's office. When he arrived, office staffers became suspicious and the man fled, perhaps to a bean field behind the school, investigators said.

Deputy Larry Mitchell, the resource officer at Rosewood High School, was notified and gave employees at a nearby day care a description of the man. Within minutes, they called Mitchell and said they had seen him. Burke jumped into a white, four-door 1993 Buick Century at the school but was boxed in by several people. The driver then jumped the ditch, and the car sped away.

Smith said no one saw Burke with a firearm, although students said he had one.

"Needless to say, he was in Wayne County for a reason," Smith said. "We'd like to know why."