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Saturday, June 2nd, 2007

Vagrant makes himself at home after break in

By Margie Wuebker
A homeless man faces felony charges after he allegedly broke into a Celina-area home and barricaded himself in an upstairs bedroom.
Josh Cole, 18, has been charged with burglary and remains incarcerated in the Mercer County Jail on a $100,000 cash bond.
Jim and Sandy Haynes, 3342 Oregon Road, called the Mercer County Sheriff's Office on Thursday night to report a break-in with the perpetrator still inside. Deputies found Cole inside a bedroom and took him into custody without incident.
No one was home when Cole allegedly entered the home by pushing out a screen in an open bathroom window. Once inside, Cole apparently bathed using towels plucked from an outdoor clothesline and ate food from the kitchen. He then went into a bedroom and apparently used a chair and desk to barricade the door before crawling into bed for a nap.
"We think he even washed his clothes," Jim Haynes told The Daily Standard. "And we suspect he may have been staying in the barn for who knows how long."
The couple had been in the house approximately two hours when one of their two sons arrived home and reported something suspicious in the barn. Cole apparently parked a green BMX bike there and brought in a chair from the lawn in order to relax.
They alerted the sheriff's office at 6:46 p.m. after the son went upstairs and noticed his brother's closed bedroom door.
"That door is never closed so we knew something was wrong," Haynes added. "We called 911 and got out of the house."
Deputies had investigated reports in earlier days of a young man sleeping at St. John Lutheran Church in Hopewell Township. He reportedly asked the church secretary for food, according to Haynes.
Cole, who had marijuana in his possession at the time of the arrest, admitted to being homeless.
"He told us his parents left town and did not take him along," chief deputy Gery Thobe said. "We are still in the process of checking that out."
Haynes does not know Cole, although he has heard rumors the young man lived in a Rockford apartment at some point.
"We felt kind of sorry for him but having him break in is unsettling," he added. "My wife still has trouble sleeping."
Cole made an initial appearance Friday morning in Celina Municipal Court with a preliminary hearing to be held at a later date. A grand jury will likely hear the case for possible indictment.
If convicted of the second-degree felony, Cole faces up to eight years in prison and a $15,000 fine.
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