updated 9/21/2009 2:42:14 PM ET 2009-09-21T18:42:14

A masked police chief planning to surprise Michigan high school students in a forensic science class ended up sparking a brief lockdown after being spotted by a cafeteria worker.

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The Flint Journal reported Montrose Police Chief Darrell Ellis and another person from the department were seen Thursday putting on stocking masks outside Montrose High School for a mock robbery.

Ellis said the lesson called for students to write descriptions of the suspects and do interviews.

Principal Jim Ply said about 180 students eating lunch were evacuated to the gym and the school went into lockdown for about 10 minutes. The mock robbery at the school went on as planned.

A mock robbery has been part of the class for about 12 years.

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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