Chanute schools were placed on lockdown Thursday morning after a report that a suspected armed robber was in Chanute.
Chanute police, Allen County sheriff’s officers and a Neosho County deputy received a tip that Aaron Hutton, 29, was sighted Thursday morning near Oak and Allen streets in the area of Royster Stadium and Lincoln Preschool. Officers set up a perimeter to contain the area and contacted district administrators.
All Chanute schools were locked down from 8:03 to 10:25 a.m. Thursday after the reported sighting. Afternoon pre-kindergarten sessions were canceled.
Iola schools were also locked down Wednesday after the reported robbery. Humboldt schools were not in session Wednesday.
Investigators discovered that no one had actually seen Hutton in the Chanute area and that the information was a story passed from one person to others.
Hutton is suspected in a robbery of Cash Advance America in Iola at 11:24 a.m. Wednesday.
Iola police reported that a white male with a skull mask entered the store and pointed a gun at a cashier. The robber took cash and the cashier’s cell phone and vehicle. The robbery suspect was later identified as Hutton.
Hutton was located at his brother’s residence in Humboldt later Wednesday, but ran from there and later entered the Neosho River on the west side of Humboldt. While law enforcement attempted to get a rescue boat from Chanute, officers followed Hutton on each side of the river and a Kansas Highway Patrol helicopter monitored him from overhead. Officers lost contact when the helicopter went to refuel, and Hutton apparently left the river.
Officers searched the immediate and surrounding areas without result but recovered a black and red bag containing clothing, two hats, a skull mask, cash and a loaded .40-caliber semi-automatic handgun where Hutton had entered the river.
He was also reportedly seen Wednesday afternoon near Petrolia.
Agencies involved include the Allen and Woodson county sheriffs’ offices, the Iola, Humboldt and Chanute police departments, Allen and Neosho County EMS, Chanute Fire Department Water Rescue, the Kansas Fire Marshal’s Office and Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism.
Hutton is described as 5-foot, 9 inches and weighs 145 pounds. He was last seen wearing boxer shorts and black socks. Law enforcement reportedly is also looking for a black or dark gray Subaru Forester, tag number 987 KZS, which is the stolen vehicle. Officials ask that people contact central dispatch at (620) 431-5768 with information and not post on social media.
On Thursday night, law officers were searching an area of U.S. 169 in Allen County after a motorist reported seeing a white man peak out of the trees and then drop back into them.