FRESNO, CA --It may be hard to believe that police found nearly $2,000 on a panhandler in California Monday morning.
It also came as a surprise to Brian Howard, who just moved to Fresno from Bakersfield. "That's a lot of money," said Howard. "People like that they make it hard for guys like me that are just trying to get by."
Howard was panhandling at the same intersection where police arrested 43-year-old Kevin Joy on Monday morning. It was the second time in just a few hours police found Joy standing on the median illegally (without a permit), so they cited and booked him.
The $1,800 was also booked into evidence.
Police know Joy well-they say he was cited for similar violations more than 60 times in 2015 They say he's also an aggressive panhandler, using pressure to get people to give him money. Police say he doesn't want the help he's been offered so many times. "He's refused those services," Fresno Police Lt. Joe Gomez said. "He likes to live his lifestyle this way and you know clearly it's lucrative for him, $1800-a lot of money."
The Fresno Rescue Mission provides much needed services to the city's homeless population. But Pastor Rob Cravy says when we give money to panhandlers, we're hurting, not helping them-often we're just contributing to an addiction. "Once the cash flow is stopped, then people will seek the ministries that they need they'll seek the help that they need," Cravy said.
Brian Howard hides his sign when he sees cops.
He was cited a few days ago for being on the median. "That's why I just pay really close attention and I just stay out of the way and I try to get off the road as soon as I can," Howard said. He says he's seen Kevin Joy before, but isn't aggressive like him.
He'll take the money he gets, and just hopes that it's enough to get by.