Community raises more than $22K for man mistaken for fugitive

Manhunts through history
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Story highlights

  • James Tully says he's been stopped more than 20 times in manhunt for accused killer
  • Tully walks 5 miles to work and back each day because he has no car
  • Members of community start online campaign to raise money to buy him car
James Tully says he been stopped so many times by law enforcement on his way to work that he's stopped counting.
Apparently, he resembles fugitive Eric Frein, who is accused of fatally shooting a Pennsylvania state trooper and injuring another trooper in a September shootout.
The search for Frein has jolted the Canadensis area of Pennsylvania's Pocono Mountains, leading to school closures, roadblocks and multiple police interactions for Tully, who walks 5 miles to work and back each day because he does not own a car.
"Because I'm walking and I'm carrying a book bag, and for some reason people seem to think I'm the one they're looking for," Tully told CNN affiliate WNEP. "I've lost count after 20 in total. The most on one round-trip stretch was about seven times."
He even started wearing his work ID around his neck for easy identification.
One concerned citizen is looking to take the target off Tully's back.
Dawn DeBiase of East Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania, started an online fundraiser to help the father of two purchase a car. The campaign has raised more than $22,000 in just five days.
DeBiase said she was touched by Tully's plight.
"He's a good guy. He's working to support his children. He's not in the street boo-hooing because he doesn't have a car; he's walking to work every day."
Due to the overwhelming response, DeBiase said, she's closing the fundraiser this week at Tully's request.
"He doesn't want to be greedy about it, because what's there now will help him," DeBiase said. "He's ready to take it from here."
In the meantime, others in the community have stepped up to give him rides to work.
"He absolutely appreciates everything. He's totally overwhelmed by everything," she said. "He's a very humble, hardworking guy."