Police seeking information on missing Columbia man

Wednesday, December 22, 2010 | 5:07 p.m. CST; updated 5:43 p.m. CST, Wednesday, December 22, 2010
Nicholas Coppola, right, is shown in this photograph with his father. The younger Coppola has been missing since Dec. 12.

COLUMBIA — The Foristell Police Department is looking for a Columbia man who was last seen Dec. 12.

Nicholas Coppola, 25, lives in the 1700 block of Telluride Court in southwest Columbia. He was enrolled as a student at MU during the spring 2010 semester as an economics major, university spokesman Christian Basi said.

Dec. 10 is the last time his mother or his roommates saw him, Foristell Police Chief Douglas Johnson said. His mother visited him after a dispute over a religious book. His roommates said he became a loner around that time, Johnson said.

About 1 p.m. Dec. 12, Foristell police found Coppola’s empty 1998 Subaru Legacy on eastbound Interstate 70, just west of St. Louis. There, they also found his cell phone and identification.

Johnson said he thinks Coppola was on his way to his parents’ home in Weldon Spring to surprise them for the holidays when his vehicle ran out of gas.

The police found his driver’s seat reclined, perhaps indicating that Coppola was waiting for someone to give him a ride, Johnson said.

On Tuesday, Foristell police discovered that Wright City police had arrested Coppola on Dec. 12 after he allegedly tried to enter two residences. Johnson said he thinks Coppola was trying to stay warm and seek shelter.

Johnson said Wright City police charged Coppola with trespassing and disturbing the peace. He was booked and processed at the Warren County Jail and released on summons at 5:40 p.m. Dec. 12, Johnson said.

Johnson said Coppola made no attempt to contact anyone, including his family and roommates, while he was in jail. He thinks Coppola is possibly in Warrenton.

“His safety is our utmost concern,” Johnson said.

Coppola is about 5 feet, 8 inches tall, 235 pounds, has blue eyes and wears wire-rimmed glasses.

Police ask that anyone with information on his whereabouts call the Foristell Police Department at 636-463-2123, ext. 227, or 636-693-2150.

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