Drive anywhere in Dallas and you’re sure to find at least one panhandler working every major intersection. CBS11 discovered a full network of professional panhandlers working the streets of Dallas.
The network consists of eight to ten people targeting the intersection of the Dallas North Tollway and Northwest Highway, arriving everyday around 11am. Their driver drops them off same time, same place everyday and returns throughout the day with food and supplies and other ‘shift workers’.
Len Critcher a nearby homeowner says they’ve been there for years and has slowly watched them enough to notice their routine.
“What’s behind all of this. If these were truly people that needed help, I would be all for it. Let’s give and give and give,” Critcher syas. “But when it’s organized, when we don’t know where the money’s going, and it is not what it appears to be, that’s what bothers me.”
Michael and Stacy both panhandle with signs that read “single father” or “student who needs money for her three children.” When confronted by CBS, the couple admitted they lost custody of their five children several years ago. They claim to be disabled and unable to get jobs, but panhandling pays just fine for them, as combined they make nearly $300 per day. “We’re part of the panhandling group, yeah,” Michael told CBS.
As for another panhandler with a cane: “I can come out here and work for two hours and make $75.”
According to CBS all have had drug charges and have been cited for panhandling in Dallas County a combined total of 148 times.
Critcher urges North Texans to “give to things that you know where your money’s going. This [panhandling] is not what it appears to be.”