A 33-year-old Edgewater man was charged with attempted kidnapping after police said he allegedly tried to force a 14-year-old girl into some woods as she walked home from school on Thursday.
County police arrested Augustus Terrill Sharps, of Millswamp Road, at the Safewayon Route 2 shortly after the 3:30 p.m. incident.
Sgt. Ray Pearson, a spokesman at the Southern District station, said police were first alerted when customers at the Sweetish Laundromat on Mayo Road called to report a suspicious man wandering around the area.
"His behavior drew attention," the sergeant said. "He was walking around aimlessly."
But by the time police arrived, he was gone, Pearson said.
A few minutes later, the man showed up at Central Middle School and officials there chased him out. But by the timeofficers arrived, he again was gone.
A few minutes later, a custodian who works at South River High School, which is on the same campus as the middle school, saw the man and called Assistant Principal George Kispert, who confronted the man on the second floor.
"He justseemed out of sorts," Kispert said. "Like he was lost or totally outof it."
Kispert said the man seemed to be incoherent and was mumbling to himself and then asked where the exit was.
"He didn't appear to be threatening," he said.
Kispert escorted him to the auditorium door and told him to leave. He watched the man as he stood near the school smoking a cigarette. At about the same time, a student wasabout to leave the school through the auditorium door. Kispert advised her to leave through the front door instead. Then he called police.
The student Kispert had warned was the girl who was accosted a short time later as she was walking along Mayo Road.
The girl told police she was walking along when a man ran up to her, said he had a gun and ordered her into the woods. The girl screamed and ran, policesaid, and the man ran and got into a Ford van.
Police searched the area and later arrested Sharps at the Safeway. He also was charged with trespassing. He did not have a gun at the time of the arrest, police said.