A man who pretends to be mentally andÂ physically handicapped while he goes around the streets begging claims he makesÂ up to $100,000 a year from his panhandling.
Gary Thompson, from Texas, gets aroundÂ Lexington, Kentucky, in a wheelchair which he says he needs because he hasÂ difficulty walking.
He also maneuvers his hands in a way thatÂ would lead the untrained eye to believe he had difficulty using them.
Added to the fact Thompson seems to haveÂ difficulty speaking and fully understanding, he manages to illicit a lot ofÂ sympathy from others – sympathy and money.
His sob story to passers by is that hisÂ family took the money he received when he was paralyzed in the accident. He doesÂ have some difficulty walking but is not totally paralyzed.
When he was confronted about the schemeÂ by LEXÂ 18Â newsÂ station, he laughed and said he doesn’t plan on stopping any timeÂ soon.
“I appreciate you guys busting me,’ ThompsonÂ told a reporter. ‘Yeah, I’m really good at it,Â really good. I clear aboutÂ 100,000 dollars a year doing this.
‘Anything from 60,0000 to 100,00 dollars. IÂ am normal, it just helps to be mentally handicapped.’
Not only can Thompson speak and use his armsÂ properly, but he has a degree in speech pathology that allowed him to mimic aÂ mentally disabled person.
Hailing from Austin, Texas, he claims to haveÂ pulled the same stunt there before moving to Kentucky. Police there recentlyÂ held a press conference about it warning people of the scam.
After LEX 18 confronted Thompson about theÂ alleged scam, he showed no remorse and simply wheeled himself off to beg rightÂ in front of a police station.
Judy McKinney told Lex 18: ‘He got me! IÂ don’t make that much money, but I reached into my pocket, and gave himÂ everything I had. Six dollars at the time.’
Thompson has reportedly been charged twiceÂ this year over his scheme and pleaded guilty on both occasions.