Arson suspect at large in Downers Grove; local schools on soft lockdown

DOWNERS GROVE, Ill. (WLS) -- As Downers Grove police investigated an apparent arson fire Friday morning, Downers Grove North High School was placed under a shelter-in-place order and other local schools were on soft lockdown.

Police were trying to locate Robert Clauser, 52, in connection with an apparent arson fire in the 1700-block of Virginia Avenue in Downers Grove. There were no injuries related to the incident, police said.

Downers Grove North High School was not allowing anyone to leave the building, and students or visitors arriving to school were being vetted before being allowed to enter the building, High School District 99 officials said in a message sent to parents just after 9 a.m.

Classes are continuing as planned. Once the shelter-in-place is lifted, students will continue with their schedule.

In a second message sent just before 11 a.m., school officials said the shelter-in-place was still in effect, as police worked to locate Clauser.

The 52-year-old is described as 5-feet, 4-inches tall with brown hair. He was last seen leaving the location of the fire wearing a dark coat and white-hooded sweatshirt, police said.

Anyone who sees someone matching this description should not approach and is asked to call 911 immediately.

Police later said all schools in the area are on soft lockdown until the suspect is found.
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