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Thonotosassa man, 74, missing week after bike ride

TAMPA — A week ago today Raymond Thomas took a bike ride. The 74-year-old ex-convict climbed atop a gray Schwinn woman's bicycle and pedaled away with his Bible in hand, as he sometimes did when he wanted to read Scripture alone by the river.

Friends say Thomas had spent the morning helping his housemate, who, like Thomas, had been taken in by a couple with a small ministry to the homeless.

But after Thomas got back from helping his friend get to a doctor's appointment, he disappeared. That was around 9 a.m., deputies say. Later in the day, he missed his own doctor's appointment.

"I hope he's okay and just out there," said Johanna Caldwell, 58, of God Works! Inc. in Thonotosassa.

Thomas has lived with Caldwell and her husband, Phillipe, for about a year.

State records show Thomas was arrested 19 times from 1959 to 2006, often on theft charges. But Caldwell said he spent the last year turning his life around, feeding the homeless and leading Bible studies.

Thomas, a diabetic, does not have his prescription medicine with him, Caldwell said.

He is described as white with a full head of white hair. He is 6-foot-1 with a slender build, though Caldwell said he has a bit of a belly.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Sheriff's Office at (813) 247-8200.

Rebecca Catalanello can be reached at rcatalanello@sptimes.com or (813) 226-3383.

Thonotosassa man, 74, missing week after bike ride 07/07/08 [Last modified: Monday, July 7, 2008 11:03pm]

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