A man police say was casing borough schools looking for items to steal was arrested Friday after he returned to Lyncrest Elementary School, where he had been caught wandering the halls in late September, police said.
Police said Edward Proctor, 38, of Paterson, had been trying to enter schools looking for items left out in the open that he could steal, like pocketbooks, wallets and cell phones.
School staff identified the man, called police, and kept watch on him as he walked around the school grounds, police said. Staffers provided police with a detailed description of his appearance and the make of the car he left in, police said.
Officers Sean Macys, Mark Wyka, Sean Nagle, Det. Jeffrey Welsh and Det. Lt. Michael Uttel were dispatched to the school and surrounding areas Friday morning to locate the man.
Soon after, Officer Macys spotted a man who fit the trespasser's description and pulled him over at the intersection of Plaza and Cambridge roads.
Macys identified the car’s driver as the man who had been wandering Lyncrest School and placed him under arrest.
Proctor was charged with criminal trespass at a school, and later released on his own recognizance.
Proctor had originally come to the police’s attention when he entered Lyncrest School without permission by following someone into the building on Sept. 27, police said.
When approached by teachers at the time, Proctor said he was looking for his nephew, a student named Michael Harris. A check found that no such student was enrolled in the school district.
Police were called to the scene, but were not able to locate Proctor at the time. A man fitting Proctor’s description had also been seen outside Forrest School a day earlier.
Sgt. Richard Schultz commended the Lyncrest school staff Friday for its quick and detailed response working in tandem with the police to apprehend Proctor.
Proctor is scheduled to appear in Municipal Court on Oct. 26 at 7 p.m.