Three men who allegedly stole cellphones from an AT&T store in Windsor led police on a high-speed chase down U.S. Highway 101 this afternoon prompting the lockdown of a Petaluma elementary school, police said. The three men grabbed a handful of cellphones inside the AT&T CellularWorld store at 6500 Hembree Lane and fled around 1:23 p.m., Windsor police Sgt. Jim Naugle said. The suspects fled south on Highway 101 in a gold sedan, Naugle said. The car exited the highway at East Washington Street and drove west to a shopping center near the 250-student McKinley Elementary School at 110 Ellis St. School Principal Matthew Harris said the school was locked down at 2 p.m. after police called. All the students were watching a fourth grade play in the multi-purpose room at the time, Harris said. Parents were informed about the lockdown via an automated telephone call, Harris said.
Several parents showed up at the school to pick up their children and Harris said he went outside to reassure them the students were safe. Harris said after the play ended, he informed the students the school was locked down. All the doors except the main door are locked during the school day, a policy that was put in place this year, Harris said/.Petaluma Police informed the school the suspects were caught and the lockdown was lifted around 3:10 p.m., Harris said. The school day normally ends at 2:45 p.m. Petaluma police referred calls about the arrests to the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office. More information was not available late this afternoon. Debbie Yeakey, president of AT&T CellularWorld, said four suspects also robbed cellphones from the CellularWorld store in Mill Valley around 2 p.m. Tuesday. She said she believes the suspects in both robberies are the same. Yeakey said the suspects grab any phones that are available in the stores and flee. “Three men come into the store and one waits in a car,” Yeakey said.
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