The Grand Chute police department in Wisconsin released footage of an officer speaking with a man who admits to being a fraudulent panhandler.
The body cam video shows the unidentified man being approached by an officer and asking if he needs any assistance, which the man declines.
“Yesterday I made $250 with the ‘hopeless dad’ sign. Honestly, I don’t have a kid, but people do like to help out,” the panhandler admits in the video.
He then reaches into his car for another sign to show the official. This one reads: “Broken & Hungry.”
“This one … I made $197,” the man claims.
“Oh, wow. All in one day, huh?” the officers asks.
“All in two-and-a-half hours,” the panhandler replies.
It’s scamming panhandlers such as the man in the video that make the town’s chairman, David Schowalter, warn residents of who they are giving their money to.
“I just want to make [people] aware that there are panhandlers that are fraudulent and that’s exactly what my sign says,” Schowalter told WFRV News as he stood on a street corner with a sign reading: “Beware some panhandlers are fraudulent.”
In the town of Grand Chute, panhandling is legal and people who engage in the act are allowed to advertise themselves in any way they choose. Therefore, all Schowalter can do for now is warn residents with good hearts that some people may be taking advantage, which can be hard for some who are truly on the streets everyday trying to earn a little extra cash for their family.
“I would say I’m doing this to benefit my family,” an anonymous panhandler told WFRV. “The only reason I’m doing this is because I do have kids at home.”
The anonymous man said he makes about $40 dollars a day, while trying to look for work.
“It’s definitely a stab in your pride when you have to stand on the side of the road as a grown man and ask people for money,” he admitted.
As for the fraudulent panhandler, he sees his actions as a benefit to society.
“Yes, it’s morally questionable that I am preying upon people’s good hearts and good intentions. But I’m also selling people self-importance for being a good person.”