Seeing someone on the street asking for money pulls at the heartstrings, but all too often, panhandlers are running a scam and aren’t in as dire need as they appear.
That was the case of one pregnant woman, begging for money at a busy shopping center, then later seen getting into a Mercedes.
The incident was all caught by an onlooker on her camera phone, after she noticed that the pregnant woman represented herself as homeless, begging for money in parking lots. With her son by her side, the woman appeared to be getting many donations, however, she was later seen getting into her boyfriend or husband’s luxury car parked around the corner.
After the story went viral, 10news.com reporter Emily Valdez confronted the man and woman, asking them about the Mercedes when they stood outside a California shopping center.
He responded, “What Mercedes?”
The reporter then showed the woman cell phone photos of her begging, asking if it was indeed her. The woman didn’t respond.
When asked where the car was, the couple left, driving away in a minivan. Neither of the children with them were put in car seats, according to the report.
The Mercedes’ license plate number was reportedly traced to a woman living in a $2,500/month apartment complex.
People weighed in with comments on the New York Daily News’ Facebook post about the story, with one person explaining: “That’s why I don’t give money. I’ll buy you something to eat if you are hungry but give you money…I dont think so.”
Another commenter agreed, noting: “I never give money…enough gets taken out of my taxes to support people who won’t support themself. Most I would do is BUYING them something to eat. I never give money because half the time they go spend it on booze or drugs. Unless you are handicapped or disabled there is NO reason you can’t go get a job like a productive member of society .”
One person, however, continues to give to those who appear to be in need, noting: “I’m a truck driver and see them all the time…and give often. But I give from the heart so it really doesn’t matter what they do with it. I’ve been there before in my life. I don’t care if they are drunk, if they ask, I may give. Not being naive.”
One commenter weighed in with this theory: “How do you think she afforded that car. Panhandlers make more money than most, tax free,” while another person noted: “Making it bad for folks who are really in need!”
Others noted that this is a known scam, seen all too frequently, with one commenter sharing a similar experience, writing: “Happens more than you may think. When I used to live in Aventura, I’d give this guy money who was begging every time I got off my exit, as he stood with his sign off the exit ramp…several months later, I’m at a gas station, and a swear I spot this SOB walking out of the convenience store into a brand new Volvo. My mouth hit the floor.”