Abilene, TX – A Texas man who panhandles in a wheelchair, and appears to be homeless, isn't actually homeless and makes about $1,000 a weekend according to the city’s police chief.
Abilene Police Chief Stan Standridge said the man panhandles every Saturday and Sunday at a highway intersection, according to KTXS.
Chief Standridge said the police department’s homeless outreach team first conteacted the man after the department received calls from concerned citizens.
The police discovered the man is not homeless and lives in a home in south Abilene.
Chief Standridge also said the man is not wheelchair bound and makes about $1,000 for his weekend panhandling, according to KTXS.
The Chief said someone drops the man off at his spot every weekend to collect money from people passing by.
KTXS went to the intersection where the man panhandles and interviewed him.
The news station referred to the man as “RJ.” The man told them that he is handicapped and homeless. He added that if he is lucky, he makes $6 on the weekends.
Chief Standridge said that the man told police a completely different story, according to KTXS.
"He has told our officers how much he’s making. We know where he resides. I have personally seen him dropped him off on weekends," Chief Standridge said, according to KTXS.
Chief Standridge is asking people to not give money to panhandlers because it does not help them in the long run.
“If you give $5 out your window and I give $5 out my window and the next person, what have we done to address homelessness? Nothing,” Standridge said, according to KTXS. “It’s really about us moving away from charity to philanthropy.”
Chief Standridge said the department has created a four-person homeless outreach team. They go out to the community and have built networks and relationships.