Police in New Jersey are hoping that people will think twice about giving money to panhandlers on the side of the road by sharing a social media post warning that they may be trying to scam others.
Union Township Police approached a woman walking in and out of traffic on a busy street with a sign that read, “I have 1 baby please in the name of God help me to buy baby stuff and diapers.” The sign also featured a photo of a young child. According to the police department post on Facebook, the woman claimed to be from Romania and living in Queens.
However, officers were dubious about the woman’s claims of needing money after they noticed she was holding a purse estimated to be worth $500 and a new iPhone X, valued at $899.99. The Street Crimes Unit officers concluded that she “did not appear to be in critical need of cash.”
Police said that when they questioned the woman further, she admitted that she, and several other women, had been “dropped off” to panhandle throughout New Jersey. She was issued a ticket for impeding the flow of traffic and received a court summons for soliciting without a permit.
“It is nice to be charitable, but it’s not a good idea to donate to someone on the side of the road with a sign,” the Union Township Police Department wrote. “If you see someone who may need help, you can call our HQ and our officers will respond and assess.”
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