It may not have been the first time that the man arrested last week on charges of harassing a Troy student had interacted with students.
According to the Troy Police Department, more than 20 occurrences of harassment and panhandling have been reported concerning 48-year-old Andre Harley of Troy.
Harley was arrested on Friday, Aug. 29.
According to WSFA reports, on Thursday night, a Troy student was leaving campus to pick up dinner from Chick-fil-A. As she left the parking lot, a man later identified as Harley began to flag the student down.
Fearing that she had possibly dropped something, she stopped and rolled down the window. The man then asked for a ride, but before she could respond, he opened the passenger door and instructed her to drive to an ATM.
The student followed his instructions, fearing that he might be armed, and withdrew $60 from the ATM, then dropped the man off at his house.
The student could not be reached for comment.
Other students, however, did retell their experiences with a man meeting Harley’s description.
Chas Windham, a senior biology education major from McKenzie, said he had an encounter with the man last fall.
At the time, Windham was living in an apartment on the Square in downtown Troy. He had often seen the man walking around the Square. One day the man walked up and introduced himself as John.
“He starts to give me this story about saving up to purchase a house and asked if I could spare a few dollars,” Windham said. “So I gave him some money. I also put him in contact with my church’s pastor to try and help him out.”
After mentioning the incident to his roommates, Windham said he realized that they too had encounters with the same man and understood that he was working around the circuit.
“This guy is intelligent,” Windham said. “He knows what he’s doing. He has a preset track of conversation that he knows works well.”
Halie Edens, a senior English major from Crestview, Florida, said she experienced a run-in with the man this past summer while moving into her house downtown.
As Edens stood outside her house, the man approached her and walked up the porch steps.
“He asked if there was a male he could speak to, and so I directed him towards my dad,” Edens said.
The man began to explain that he and his family had been living out of his car for approximately 46 days and that he was trying to save up money to provide for his family.
“We apologized to the man because none of us had any cash, but he persisted and would not leave our porch,” she said. “He was there for almost 20 minutes until my dad decided to drive him to an ATM to give him some money so that he wouldn’t come back to bother us again.”
The Troy Police Department was unable to provide details on the status of Harley’s arrest and charges.
An email was sent out by the office of student services on Monday advising students to take precautions by always locking their vehicles and staying away from giving or taking rides from strangers and opening vehicle doors or rolling down windows for unknown persons.