By Joe McDonald
EAST STROUDSBURG Pa. (Reuters) - Jim Tully's hours-long walks to and from work in the Pocono Mountains, where he has been repeatedly stopped by police in a case of mistaken identity in the manhunt for a Pennsylvania cop killer, may be coming to an end.
News of the factory worker's run-ins with authorities searching for fugitive Eric Frein, wanted in the Sept. 12 shooting death of one state trooper and wounding of another, has sparked a crowdfunding campaign to buy him a car.
Donations are pouring in and by Friday the campaign had raised nearly $16,000, more than six times the original goal of $2,500.
"I'm overwhelmed with the support from the community and the area," Tully said in a telephone interview on Friday.
Tully, 39, who says friends tell him he looks like Frein from a distance, said he had been stopped by police at least 20 times on his 4-hour long walks to and from his job at a thermal products factory.
He said he would use the cash contributed by more than 700 people over two days to get a vehicle to get to work.
"And anything left over will be used for maintenance and gasoline," Tully said.
The crowdfunding idea came from the daughter of a former coworker, Tully said.
"I never asked for this to be done," he said. "It's just the community showing its support on its own."
Meanwhile, a neighbor across the street from where he lives, has been offering Tully a ride to work, he said.
A state police spokesman said troopers were aware of Tully and that he had been stopped walking through the search area, but had no further comment.Hundreds of state and federal law enforcement officers continue to search the Poconos woods where they believe Frein, 31, who is on the FBI Most Wanted list, has been hiding since the shooting that killed Corporal Bryon Dickson and wounded Trooper Alex Douglass outside the state police barracks in Blooming Grove.
(Editing by Barbara Goldberg and Richard Chang)