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Boxcar hobo in search of adventure finds journey stalled--temporarily--in Perham

A young, philosophical hobo--traveling the country to explore life and "find himself" --found himself at a dead stop in Perham, with a police squad car awaiting him.

A Burlington Northern-Santa Fe freight train was stopped in downtown Perham about 6:30 p.m., June 1. BN-SF rail officials and Perham city police officers were notified that there was somebody riding atop a box car--taking photos. A motorist who saw the 20-year-old vagabond from New York evidently phoned in the report, according to Perham Police Chief Brian Nelson.

"He was a young guy who wanted adventure," said Nelson, noting that he was traveling across the country, to Seattle. He had rode the Amtrak passenger train--legally-- to Minneapolis, where he decided to experience genuine hobo life, and illegally hopped a freight, said Nelson.

Searched after he was pulled from the freight train, the traveler was carrying a sleeping bag, backpack, clothing, water, a camera, an iPod--and several books on philosophy.

Perham officer Ron Smith and Otter Tail County Deputy Nate Selander were the two cops who tracked down the hobo on one of the cars.

"He was respectful. He was carrying no drugs or anything illegal," said Nelson. The railroad company declined to bring any criminal charges, but did enter the hobo's name and ID into the railroad's database--just in case he is ever caught again.

"We didn't have any place to put him, so all we could really do was help him on his way," said Nelson.

Perham police agreed to drive the young man toward Detroit Lakes, where they met a D.L. officer--who helped arrange for a ride aboard the Amtrak, so he could continue his journey to Seattle as a legal passenger, rather than a freight train-hopping hobo.