"So much heat was put on him . . . he ultimately surrendered to us," Darby said, referring to the police push to find the assailant.
Darby said an 8-year-old boy and his 10-year-old sister were on their way to the school at 3301 Old York Rd. in Franklinville about 8 a.m. when they saw a man hiding behind a car on Venango Street.
The man, masked and dressed in black, jumped out and grabbed the boy, dragging him by his backpack, Darby said. The girl then went after the man, who let go of the boy and took hold of her.
Other children who saw the attack rushed to help, "literally throwing stones at him," Darby said.
The man fled and all the children ran to school, where they reported what had happened, Darby said.
Investigators recalled a similar attempted abduction of a 10-year-old girl by a man with the same description in the same area on Feb. 19 and "recognized the threat level," Darby said. Monday's attack represented a possible escalation in the abductor's efforts, Darby said.
Working together, city and School District police stepped up their presence in the area and developed information that led them to Ferguson, whose last address was on the 3600 block of North Warnock Street, around the corner from the attempted abduction site, the captain said.
Armed with an arrest warrant, police launched a manhunt for Ferguson on Tuesday. As pressure mounted, he walked into the Special Victims Unit about 9 p.m. and surrendered, Darby said.
Court records show Ferguson has past convictions for narcotics and a 2001 charge of corrupting the morals of a minor.