Monday, March 27, 2017

Beyond Panhandling In Roanoke

Aggressive Panhandler at Kroger Fuel in Roanoke VA
One thing that is recurring on the Facebook group are people that aggressively panhandle at local gas station, stores and groceries. It's becoming more mainstream not just in the Roanoke Valley but elsewhere as people are taking panhandling to new extremes.

This approach is not only aggressive but it could also be dangerous too.

Here's how it works.

You pull up to a place of business in order to do something, get gas, buy something at a store and the like. The aggressive panhandler will simply walk up to your car or shortly thereafter when you get out and ask for cash. Sometimes there is a statement of needing help to feed kids, God might have told them that your going to help them, sometimes it's they need gas money to get to someplace.

More times then none, it's a scam. We have heard reports of people doing this while someone else is driving a car waiting for them, other times they're simply driving a car themselves and they will drive off if you call the police.

So far, from the members reporting, it has occurred at Walmart Parking lots, Kroger gas stations, at a local ABC store, etc. All reports have been here in Roanoke so far but we have also heard of other locations in Virginia where this is starting to occur too.

While this is a form of panhandling, this is simply illegal. It's called aggressive panhandling and in most cases it's on private property.

So what can you do about this? 

If you encounter someone that comes up to you and demands cash, tell them no and to leave you alone.

If they persist and you feel like you are in danger, I recommend contacting the police and get a image of the person and/or the person's car.

Additionally, you can also contact the store manager about the incident as sometimes they might have footage of the person on camera to help better assist police.

I recommend that you make yourself aware of your surroundings if you venture out within Roanoke.


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