PLATTSBURGH — The man accused of stalking two young girls admitted that in the past he engaged in public displays of lewd behavior.

After his arrest last week, Nicholas Belvedere denied following two 12-year-olds as they walked to and from school last month.

“When (the police officer) told me why he wanted to talk to me today, because some girls said I followed them around and offered them a ride, I got very upset,” the 27-year-old said in a statement filed in Plattsburgh City Court.

“I did not do anything like that, and I wanted the police to know it.”

Belvedere was taken into custody after the two girls provided police with a description of the maroon car that allegedly followed them.

One of the girls told police she decided to get the license-plate number of the car after the “creepy-looking” driver offered her a ride and “freaked us out.”

She said the next time she saw the car, she “sprinted by” it and memorized the plate.

Her friend said she noticed the car another time when she was walking home from softball practice.

“I noticed the guy in the car driving by real slow and watching me. I was looking straight ahead because this guy was kind of freaking me out. It must have been at least three or four times I saw this guy while I was walking home,” she said in a statement to police.

And last week, police said, the vehicle they identified was spotted cruising the same area.

After the vehicle was seen on Broad Street, detectives began surveillance and observed it slowly traveling down a number of streets, including Oak Street.

According to court documents, one detective said he noticed the driver’s “attention was drawn” to females walking on the street.

The following day, police spotted the car circling the same streets and pulled it over.

During a conversation with police after the traffic stop, Belvedere addressed his past arrests but said he’s changed since the birth of his 3-year-old son.

“I admit I used to do things that were inappropriate,” he said in a statement. “It is very hard to talk about because it is embarrassing, but I used to masturbate in public.

“I was not picking out anybody in particular; it was just an impulse I had when I was younger, like in my late teens early 20s.

“I realized back then that I needed help, and I got counseling for it. When my son was born, that is when my life changed.”

Looking back, he said, he found his behavior “repulsive” and said he “would never do anything like that again.”

In his statement, Belvedere said he likes to drive around because it’s “so much better than sitting at home and watching TV” and denied offering anyone a ride.

Belvedere, who works odd jobs through Labor Ready, said he sometimes drives around “aimlessly” because he doesn’t want to go home because his “life sucks.”

Other than his ex-fiance, who is the mother of his son, Belvedere said, he is the only person who drives his car.

He has been behind bars since his Friday arrest on two felony counts of second-degree stalking and two misdemeanor counts of endangering the welfare.

When he returned to court Tuesday morning to face the charges, which also include one count of making a false statement, his bail was increased to $15,000.

Belvedere was still being held at Clinton County Jail Tuesday afternoon and will return to court next week.

He has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

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