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Lacoochee man, 70, beaten for $6, new air conditioner

The victim, who was hit with his own cane, had twice given the suspect money in the hours before the robbery.

A 70-year-old Lacoochee man with rheumatoid arthritis was severely beaten with his own cane early Thursday morning, apparently for $6 and a brand-new air-conditioning unit.

Pasco sheriff's detectives Thursday evening were still looking for the 25-year-old man they believe is responsible for the beating.

"We're actively searching for the suspect," said sheriff's spokesman Jon Powers, declining to elaborate.

The Sheriff's Office did not release the suspect's name.

The Times is withholding the victim's name because the suspect remains at large.

The victim was recovering from the attack Thursday. A granddaughter said he suffered black eyes and cuts on his head and arms. He was released from the hospital Thursday morning, she said.

"My grandfather says that when (the suspect) did this to him, there was no emotion," the granddaughter said. "He said there was nothing in his eyes. I think it's really sick."

According to reports, the victim allowed the man into his mobile home three times between 8 p.m. Wednesday and 1 a.m. Thursday. The first two times, the man asked the victim to loan him money. The victim gave him $13 the first time and $6 an hour later, reports said.

The Sheriff's Office said the suspect wanted money to go to Tampa, but wouldn't elaborate.

The suspect returned a third time, appearing calm as he walked into the victim's house, according to reports. Then he picked up the victim's cane and struck him at least three times in the head, reports said.

As the victim tried to flee his house, his attacker struck him again on the head, reports said. Before leaving the mobile home, the suspect took $6 from a wallet the victim kept hidden under the cushion of his recliner and cut the phone lines, reports said.

On his way out, the suspect stepped on the victim as the man was lying on the floor of his porch in a pool of blood, according to reports. The victim eventually was able to pick himself up and, after finding another cane, walk over to a neighbor's house.

The victim told detectives that his attacker was an acquaintance, reports said.

The Sheriff's Office has classified the attack as an attempted homicide and armed robbery.

Family members of the victim said they couldn't understand why the suspect resorted to violence.

"He's elderly and crippled," said another granddaughter. "(The suspect) asked for money and he gave it to them. That's what I don't get. He doesn't have that much money to begin with."

The victim, who couldn't be reached for comment, had been living alone for the past few years, family members said.

At some point, the suspect also removed the air-conditioning unit that the victim had just bought, his family said.

"He saved all summer to buy an air conditioner," a relative said.