Julie Reeder and Tony Campbell
Village News and AC Investigations
Sheriff deputies asked a new group of panhandlers who returned to the intersection of South Mission and Ammunition roads on Saturday, May 13, to leave. They were soliciting, supposedly, for a young girl with brain cancer again. Last week, Village News reported that different groups of panhandlers have used these same types of signs with the same red border, same lettering, same cash app link, but different children's photos in the middle with various diseases.
The signs this past Saturday were exactly the same as reported last week in Village News. The buckets were the same, and the cash app link on the signs were the same. So the money still appeared to be going to the same person we reported on previously that has been charged for panhandling in other cities, as well as gathering 32 parking citations in various cities along their route.
This time, however, there were different young women panhandling in the intersection and they were traveling in a different van, registered to a different man than last week. The van carrying the team this week was registered to a Solorio Francisco.
He may have been one of the adult men in charge this time (Saturday). They were observed monitoring the panhandlers in the intersection from inside McDonalds.
When Village News approached one of the panhandlers asking what they were raising money for, a girl responded with insults and curse words (you're fat, you're f***ing ugly). This is consistent with what Village News experienced the previous week when reporting on the soliciting.
As part of last week's story about this group of panhandlers, the Village News called the Sheriff's Department asking what should be done, especially when it appears the panhandler's causes are fraudulent, Lt. Claudia Delgado suggested calling the Sheriff's Department. That way, if there is a call for service, they can respond.
Saturday the Sheriff was called and within a few minutes responded. The officers appeared to communicate to the panhandlers that they should leave and the panhandlers all returned to their van quickly, where the adult men were waiting for them, and they left the area quickly.
Editor's Note: When local people are fundraising for a legitimate cause, it is our experience that they are willing to talk to the newspaper and while they may be sad, we've never experienced a rude response from someone who is experiencing legitimate grief or tragedy.
If you see organized panhandling like this taking place and you have a past photo taken, or recent ones, please send them to [email protected]. This is a continuing investigative piece. We believe there are bands of people who move from town to town every day, pulling on the heartstrings of generous people with fraudulent causes.
The Supreme Court has long held that there is no reasonable expectation of privacy (no right to take someone's photo) in "what a person knowingly exposes to the public."