Gary Thompson, 30, claims to make $100,000 per-year panhandling across Lexington, Kentucky. Thompson was injured in a car accident when he was a child, leaving him bound to a wheelchair. To soften people's hearts, Thompson pretends to have speech and mental disabilities. Thompson's degree in speech pathology helps him in his ruse.
Thompson's con may work on the residents of the college town, but the police aren't buying it. Thompson has been arrested several times for panhandling within city limits, including twice during 2013. Despite this, Thompson has no plans to leave for another venue.
Residents, however, are not thrilled with the revelation that the man in the wheelchair is a fraud. Many of those handing over money to Thompson are of limited means. Kentucky ranks 40th in per capita income for the United States.
In the future, Lexington residents may think twice before handing over a dollar or two to a beggar. The recipient may make more annually than the giver.
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