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Sex offender found wandering in Georgia elementary school hallway

Officials said surveillance video showed he had no interactions with children in the 5 minutes before he was found.

PICKENS COUNTY, Ga. — School officials in north Georgia say a man who entered an elementary school Friday morning was a registered sex offender.

Officials said that around 9 a.m., a man gained access to Tate Elementary School in Pickens County and was in the building for about 5 minutes before being confronted by personnel. 

According to a spokesperson for the Pickens County School District, he was then escorted to the front office.

After checking his identification and running his information, they learned that the man, later identified by the school resource officer as 57-year-old Bruce Lee Daniell of Dawsonville, is a registered sex offender.

State records provided by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation suggest that Daniell was arrested for being a "Peeping Tom" in 2004.

"Due to the upgraded security camera system, district staff can confirm that the subject had no direct interactions with students," the school district said in a letter to parents that was also shared online.

However, the Pickens County Sheriff's Office said he entered a restroom and remained there for about 2 minutes, during which time four students came in as well. Investigators said Daniell never attempted to contact them and, after the fourth student entered, he walked into the hallway where he was found by staff members. Authorities said he claimed to be looking for employment.

The Pickens County Sheriff's Office soon opened an investigation and issued warrants for Daniell's arrest on charges of felony restrictions for sexual offenders and burglary. He was arrested at his home in Dawson County.

The sheriff's office later added that Daniell first tried to enter a locked door at the front of the school but then moved to the east entrance where he found a door that wasn't closed all the way.

"We want to assure all parents and our community that we take these situations seriously," officials said in their letter. "We must all work together as a community of students, parents and school personnel to keep our campuses safe."