CARUTHERSVILLE -- A Memphis, Tenn., man's vehicle was stolen from a barbecue event in Caruthersville and later returned to Memphis over the weekend. The suspect, thought to be a Minneapolis man floating in a canoe, has not been located.
According to the Caruthersville Police Department, officers were dispatched to Reynolds Park around 9:36 a.m. in response to a canoe that was floating in the Mississippi River in front of Casino Aztar without any passengers.
When they arrived on the scene, they were told the Mark Allen Tow Boat had picked up the canoe and brought it to the riverfront.
While officers searched the area, they were advised by Dunklin County's Conservation agent, who was part of a cook-off team at the Meat on the Mississippi, a white male whom had floated down the river from Minneapolis had been in the area after a stop on a float trip to New Orleans. The subject had arrived in the area Friday night and sat around, saying he was getting some relief from the river after traveling for the past five weeks. He put up his tent and said he would relax until resuming his journey in the morning.
The subject was described as a white male with red hair and a beard. He was wearing a white shirt, camouflage shorts, high gray socks and tennis shoes. He was reportedly carrying a green or blue backpack as well.
He was last seen going to the Country Hearth Inn to take a shower before getting back on the rivers, as he was invited to go to one of the rooms by some members of a team from Port Cape Girardeau.
Officers went to the inn to look for a subject. They were advised by an attendant that a person fitting that description had gone to one of the rooms with some guests, but that attendant did not know if the subject had left the hotel.
Officers searched and were unable to locate the subject.
The Pemiscot County Rescue Squad was contacted to search the banks and the river to make sure no one was stranded or possibly had fallen out of the canoe and drown. As the search began, a member of the squad advised the subject was most likely on the bank or in the city somewhere due to no water being inside the boat, and the backpack was also missing from the boat.
Missouri Water Patrol was also contacted.
Members searched the area and had no success in locating the subject.
Later, around 1 p.m., Caruthersville officers were contacted by Lenard Townsend of Memphis in reference to his blue 2000 BMW Z3 Roadster convertible, being stolen from Reynolds Park.
According to Townsend, he was at First Street and Riverfront Drive around 11 p.m. Friday. While sitting there, he saw the subject come off the river. He told Townsend he had been on the river about five weeks, en route to New Orleans. Townsend invited the subject to sit in the area where they were to eat and drink. The subject sat there then asked if he could put a tent up in the area where they were, so he could rest before going back out on the river.
Townsend said he went to the Country Hearth Inn around 7 a.m. Saturday to take a shower and nap. While he was asleep, he heard someone come into the room, but didn't know who it was.
When Townsend went back to the riverfront around 1 p.m., he noticed his vehicle missing. He asked his roommates if anyone had taken his keys and vehicle as a joke. His group said no, but said the subject had showered there and police were looking for a missing subject on the riverfront. Townsend was also missing $60 from his wallet, he said.
The vehicle and subject's description were given to Pemiscot County.
Later, officers received a call from Townsend's wife, telling them a subject called her home from her husband's cell phone, stating he had the vehicle at Third and McClemore in Memphis. He wanted to sell the vehicle for $200 and some crack cocaine, she said.
The vehicle was then entered as stolen and the Memphis Police Department was contacted. It was recovered around 3:15 p.m. at 377 McClemore. There were no damages.
The suspect has not been located, and the investigation continues.