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Serial School Trespasser Still in Jail as New Year Starts

Kelly Nielsen was arrested in May, and is currently not a threat to area children as he is still in jail.

With , parents are thinking escpecially hard about child safety. 

Most things are out of a parent's control when their child is off at school. It's up to the kids, teachers and staff to make sure everyone stays safe. The good news is that parents can rest a bit easier knowing that one known threat is still in custody this fall.

On May 9, after he was seen lurking at Shoreline Middle School in Live Oak. He matched the description of a man reported peering through windows and trespassing at schools in Santa Cruz and Scotts Valley just days before. 

He was arrested on a burglary charge after he told sheriff's deputies that he intended to go to the cafeteria and steal food, Sheriff's Deputy April Skalland told Patch. He had been out on parole for prior theft charges just ten days before his May arrest, Skalland said.

But it was more than just food theft that had parents worried. According to Skalland, a man matching Nielsen's description tried to take a child from Gault Elementary School in Santa Cruz days before his arrest at Shoreline.

Rumors of Nielsen's impending release from Santa Cruz County Jail had local parents worried, according to an email sent to Patch last week. But parents should quell their Nielsen-related fears in the short term, as his next court appearance is not even until Sept. 20. 

At that court date, he will have to enter a plea, and according to Skalland, unless he is found not guilty, he will be going straight back to jail. Certainly he wont remain incarcerated forever, though.

"If the judge feels the need, he can get a restraining order at any of the schools against Nielsen," Skalland said. "Or if they wanted to keep him on an ankle monitor, they could. But we can't follow him around making sure he's not at a school after he's released." 

On top of the court system, schools do their part to make sure suspicious characters aren't allowed to loom on campus. 

"Every school has a registration log-in where the parents needs to be registered. Usually they give out visitor stickers," Skalland said. "School staff is trained. That's why we caught this guy. This is a good example of schools doing a good job."

But the onus of keeping kids safe isn't just on the adults.

"Kids need to be aware of their surroundings," Skalland said. "If they don't know the person on campus, they need to notify a teacher."

Are you worried about trespassers at schools? A little less so knowing that Nielsen is still in jail? Tell us in the comments!

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