COLUMBIA — A homeless man, Earl Love, 38, was arrested Monday morning on suspicion of first-degree trespassing in Ellis Library, said MU Police Department public information officer Brian Weimer.
A trespassing warning for campus had previously been issued to Love.
Weimer said the department responded to a report that an individual was trapped in an elevator, and the department found a man stuck in a space below a handicap chairlift on the third floor.
He said the man had apparently found his way into the space and had been sleeping there, but could not get out.
The area was lined with newspapers, and an Ellis Library book about making money was also found in the space, MU Libraries spokeswoman Shannon Cary said.
Cary said security first noticed a smell of body odor coming from the area about 6:30 a.m. Monday while doing rounds. Security did not investigate the source of the odor because of time constraints.
Security later responded to a patron who reported hearing a call for help coming from the area, Cary said.
Officers arrested Love at 11:02 a.m., Weimer said.
Love said he tripped and fell into the chairlift space and the door shut behind him, Cary said.
She said that this situation is unlikely because the chairlift doors are locked, and the door looked as if it had been forced open.
Cary said it is unknown exactly how long Love was there but that they have no reason to think he had been there more than a day or so.
"Libraries sometimes have homeless people in them, but it is unlikely he could have hidden for long," Cary said. "Even the smell was enough to draw attention to him."