Accused 'predator on a mission' pleads not guilty to entering Syracuse school

Phillip Lane / File photo

The man accused of hiding with a knife inside the girls' bathroom at a Syracuse elementary school was arraigned in court this morning.

39-year-old Phillip Lane, of Rochester, appeared before Judge Anthony Aloi in Onondaga County Court where he pleaded not guilty.

Lane is charged with burglary, child endangerment and harassment. Police say a girl was walking to Bellevue Academy back in June when she was approached by a man who asked her if she wanted to skip school with him. She said no and the suspect allegedly tried to grab her arm. The girl ran to school and told a police officer.

Here's what happened next, according to police: Moments later, a few blocks away, a 10-year-old girl went into the bathroom at Delaware Elementary School and found the same man, leaning against the wall and counting money. He asked her age, but she left the bathroom and told a teacher. Another student went into the bathroom, saw the man and left. Male teachers confronted the man and tried to take him to the principal's office, but he took off. A teacher followed him after calling 911.

Police later identified the man as Lane and arrested him. The police chief described Lane as "a predator on a mission."

He is being held without bail. He's due back in court on August 16th.