UPDATE:Panhandlers From Out Of The Country Raises Questions 2/23/14
CBS 7 News
February 23, 2014
MIDLAND-It appears that a group of foreigners, mostly from Romania, have been seen on numerous occasions panhandling throughout the Midland/Odessa area.
Many people in the area including Evan Rogers, who works closely with the homeless community in Midland, believe these people are scammers.
Recently many people have been complaining to us about panhandlers using their children to help collect money.
“People should be educated if these people are legit or not, and they’re not, so stop giving them money,” said Rogers, founder of Church Under The Bridge Midland.
Aside the fact that panhandling is illegal in both Midland and Odessa, these people continue to hold up signs, which claim they are in desperate need of help.
The majority of the time these individuals are women who are either alone or with small children who are holding the signs.
“We’ve actually tried to reach out to them and tried to help them, but it was very obvious they didn’t want any of our help. They’re here for one reason and one reason only, and that’s to get money,” Rogers said.
One family of four was initially very welcoming when thinking that we were there to give them money, but that took a quick turn once we started to ask them questions about their living situation.
On separate occasions we approached two different women who were panhandling, one near the Midland mall, the other by Home Depot.
Both women claimed they were from Phoenix and spoke in heavy foreign accents.
Within a minute of approaching them with our camera, their phones rang, and they hustled away towards a vehicle parked a short distance away. The drivers were unidentified men.
One of those women was even yelled at by a male driver to get in the car. As we watched her walking, we noticed the same family we had tried to interview earlier interacting with the man who was yelling.
After all of these incidents, we have great reason to believe that something greater is going on among all of these people who claim not to know one another.
Both Midland and Odessa Police Departments say this is something they are going to look into. We will keep you updated as more information becomes available.
MIDLAND-The founder of Church Under The Bridge Midland, Evan Rogers, works very closely with the homeless in the Midland area.
Recently he has tried to offer help to different panhandling families who appeared to be of eastern European decent, but they refused his help time and time again, unless he was offering them money.
Rogers says he believes these people are scammers, looking to profit from the booming economy here in the Midland/Odessa area.
After learning about this we decided to do some investigating of our own.
Tonight at 10pm we'll tell you what we discovered after our strange encounters with these panhandling families.