Baltimore, MD – A woman who tried to help up a homeless woman she thought was a mother-in-need was stabbed Friday night by a male accomplice and died early Saturday.
Jacquelyn Smith, 54, was killed at about 12:34 a.m., according to WMAR.
The husband of the victim, Keith Smith, said the woman who was part of the ruse said, “God bless you,” before running off with the man, according to the Baltimore Sun.
Jacquelyn Smith and her family were driving back from their daughter’s 28th birthday parry when they noticed a woman who was about 5-foot-4 and in her 20s wearing a brown jacket. The woman looked like she was carrying a baby and held a sign that read, “Please help me feed my baby.”
Smith was in the passenger seat and rolled down her car window so she could give money to the woman. Then a man who was about 30 years old and six-feet tall approached the car to thank the family for the money, according to WMAR.
The male suspect reached in to grab Smith’s wallet and a struggle started. Police said that the man stabbed Smith in the torso before he and the female who was holding the sign ran away.
Local residents questioned the safety of stopping a car to help people in need.
“I’m not going to stop my car. You know, the way times are you don’t know who to stop the car for,” said East Baltimore resident Odella Taylor, according to WMAR.
Police also said crimes can happen at any time.
“Always be aware of your surroundings. It doesn’t matter if it’s the middle of the day or the middle of the night, if you’re driving, if you’re walking, if you see something or someone that’s suspicious, call 9-1-1, our officers work 24 hours a day,” said Jeremy Silbert, Public Information Officer for the Baltimore Police Department, according to WMAR.
“They’re using this ruse as panhandlers to get the attention of their would-be victims,” said Baltimore Police Commissioner Gary Tuggle, according to the Baltimore Sun. “We also want to caution the public about engaging with panhandlers and recognizing that not all of them have honest intent. Not all of them have real need.”
Keith Smith said he wants to see panhandling banned.
“Something needs to be done, because now you don’t know whether or not you’re going to give and this person’s going to take your life or they’re going to say thank you,” Smith said, according to the Baltimore Sun. “There are some desperate people. They don’t need help; they’re trying to hurt you.”