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Who Killed "The Can Man?"

Greenville Police are shining the spotlight on a 21 year-old unsolved murder in hopes that someone with information about what happened will come forward.

It was July 11, 1988 when 73 year-old Thomas Lee McGowan was found beaten to death inside the Imperial Warehouse at 715 Atlantic Avenue, where he stayed nights and where he maintained an informal flea market during the day.

Workers in the warehouse were doing maintenance on a sprinkler system when they found McGowan's body on the third floor of the building. It was believed that McGowan was beaten with a pipe or other blunt object. McGowan's wallet was found near the body and police speculated that robbery may have been the motive.

McGowan was called "The Can Man," because he collected aluminum and tin cans, bicycles, and other discarded goods for salvage and resale.

Greenville detectives developed suspects in the course of their 1988 investigation, but the investigation eventually turned cold. There is a $5,000 reward in the case.

Anyone with information in the case is asked to call Sergeant Joe Friday at 252-329-4372


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