Suspect caught in student assault

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Winters police officers were dispatched to the Winters Middle School area on Wednesday, Sept. 6, at 7:44 a.m. following a report of a male adult who grabbed a female juvenile by her backpack as she walked to school and moved her a few feet against her will. The victim ran to the school office and reported the incident to school staff, who contacted the Winters Police Department.

Officers arrived and detained a male who matched the description given by the victim. The subject, identified as  Steven Thomas Long, 69, of Winters, denied grabbing or even speaking to the victim. Long was determined to be on active probation in Yolo County for drug-related charges. The victim positively identified Long.

Two additional juveniles contacted the school office and stated they saw Long in the area approximately five minutes after this incident, but prior to Winters police being contacted. The juveniles stated that Long walked towards them but did not engage them, and that Long was standing in the street acting strangely, waving his arms and talking to himself. The students ran past him and into the school office, and reported his behavior to school staff.

Long was arrested and booked at Yolo County Jail for violating probation and kidnapping, which states, “Every person who forcibly…takes, or holds…any person in this state, and carries the person…into another part of the same county, is guilty of kidnapping (California Penal Code §207(a)).

The Winters Police Department contacted the Winters School District administration, which sent an alert to parents notifying them of the incident and advised them to take the time to talk with their children about the importance of being aware of their surroundings and reporting suspicious activity to adults, said Winters Police Chief John Miller.

“The Winters Police Department has always strived to maintain a visible presence in around our schools, especially while students are coming to and from school, and employs a School Resource Officer,” said Miller. “The Police Department stresses the importance of immediately reporting suspicious persons so we are able to effectively respond to any concerns and ensure the safety of our community.”

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