WORCESTER (CBS) — A Worcester man who allegedly attempted to kidnap a girl on her way home from school pleaded not guilty to kidnapping charges Tuesday.

Worcester police said they were called to West Boylston Street around 2:30 p.m. Monday for a report of a man trying to force a girl into his car. When they arrived, they said they saw 37-year-old Jose Palau waiting outside of the business police were called to.

Police say that when officers approached, Palau became confrontational and aggressive and made several inappropriate gestures and lewd comments. The victim, who identified herself to reporters as 16-year-old Sailly Incarnation, stepped out of the business to call police over, and Palau allegedly said “that’s my girl!”

Jose Palau entering the courtroom and trying to hide his face Sept. 17 in Worcester District Court. (Photo Credit: WBZ-TV)

Police said their initial investigation indicated that Palau saw the teen get off a school bus near King Philip Road on her way home. He allegedly followed her and called to her, causing her to walk faster.

“I had headphones in, but I heard him comment and call me a pretty girl, but I just ignored him and kept walking with my head down looking at my phone,” Incarnation said outside the courtroom Tuesday. “When I reached a tire place near my house, I saw someone from the corner of my eye and it’s him.”

Palau then tried to grab her and told her to get into his car, police said. He repeatedly told Incarnation that her mother had told him to come pick her up. Incarnation then ran into the business and waited for officers to arrive. She told reporters she had never seen Palau before.

Sailly Incarnation outside the courtroom Sept. 17. (Photo Credit: WBZ-TV)

Palau is charged with attempted kidnapping, accosting someone of the opposite sex, assault and a lewd and lascivious act. He is being held on $10,000 cash bail.

Incarnation’s attorneys told reporters Palau is addicted to alcohol, which led to the incident, and has a criminal record dating back to 2011 because of his alcoholism. They also said he is the father of two children.

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