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Community on edge as homeless man eludes police

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By Vince Luecke

Schizophrenic in his 50s may have been living in woods and barns around Troy for weeks

TROY - Authorities continue to search for an apparently homeless man who has been living in barns in and around Troy. The man, who police believe to be in his 50s and suffering from schizophrenia, has raided trash bins for food and is suspected of turning on spigots just a few feet from some homes to obtain water.

Police said they don't believe the man poses a serious threat to the public but want to find him for his safety and those of residents.

"We have a suspect who has been seen by residents several times going through people's trash, probably looking for something to eat," said Daymion Marsh, a county sheriff's deputy who has investigated reports that discarded mail and other items tossed out with residents' trash was scattered in several locations in and around town.

Authorities don't believe the man is trying to obtain personal information but is simply looking for food. However, many Troy residents are still uneasy about a hungry man skulking around the community at night.

Police haven't released the man's identity but according to a relative, he is originally from Spencer County. He is supposed to be taking medication for schizophrenia but has probably been living either in the woods or hiding out in barns for some time, Marsh said Tuesday.

Police believe the man was spending time in two barns on opposite ends of Troy. Some trash taken from homes and businesses has been found partially burned, leading officers to suspect the man is trying to keep warm.

"He's been through some areas around here so often, he has trails made," said Deputy Richard Myers, who responded with Deputy Junior Fuchs to a Troy home Sunday after residents saw the man near a barn. He ran off quickly even though the couple who saw him didn't threaten him.

Myers said the man is in need of assistance but is likely fearful of contact with others. "We have to find him first and those who've seen him on the move said he's a fast runner, like a deer."

Officers have been patrolling the town more often, especially at night, in recent days.

Anyone seeing the man shouldn't approach him but are asked to call the county's dispatch center in Tell City at 547-7068.