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Man arrested in connection with Fridays suspicious person incident at GSU
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Daniel Ambrose Cistola

A man has been arrested in connection with the scare that led police to lock down portions of Georgia Southern University's campus for a few hours Friday morning.

Daniel Ambrose Cistola, 23, of South Main Street, was taken to the Bulloch County Jail on Tuesday evening on a charge of concealing identity by wearing mask, hood or other device. He was arrested a short time later, according to jail records released Wednesday.

"University police conducted a thorough investigation of the incident that occurred on Friday in which Mr. Cistola allegedly concealed his identity on campus by wearing a mask," the university said in a statement released Wednesday evening. "The University needed enough time in order to conduct a thorough investigation, interview the suspect and determine the necessary charges to be filed."

In a news release issued Friday, the university said a male student wearing a mask and dark clothing was spotted at about 8 a.m. "walking inside of the Math, Physics and old Biology building" on Georgia Avenue.

A short time later, Georgia Southern police responded to the scene and alerted students, faculty and staff about what they termed a "suspicious person" via an Eagle Alert and other forms of communication. Officers evacuated the old biology building, and other nearby buildings were placed on lockdown as a precaution.

Several agencies assisted university police with the incident, including the Statesboro Police Department, Bulloch County Sheriff's Office, Bulloch County EMS, Georgia State Patrol, Georgia Bureau of Investigation and FBI. Around 12:30 p.m., the "all clear" was given, and all buildings were reopened.

The university's Friday news release said further police investigation revealed that a graduate student "wore the mask as a prank and did not intend to cause alarm."

According to the Georgia Code, "A person is guilty of a misdemeanor when he wears a mask, hood, or device by which any portion of the face is so hidden, concealed, or covered as to conceal the identity of the wearer and is upon any public way or public property or upon the private property of another without the written permission of the owner or occupier of the property to do so."

Exceptions are those wearing a traditional holiday costume, such as on Halloween; athletes or trade workers whose safety equipment includes masks; persons acting in theatrical productions, including during Mardi Gras celebrations and masquerade balls; or gas masks worn during emergency drills or actual emergencies, according to the law.


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