LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - The man dubbed the Bogus Beggar who was the subject of a WAVE 3 News investigation is behind bars.
Police said Gary Thompson has been preying on giving people in Louisville by faking disabilities.
Officers said on Friday they saw him going up and down the sidewalk in a wheelchair he doesn't need. This time, Thompson was operating near the Big Four Bridge which turned out to be a big mistake as officers were there on patrol.
Waterfront Park is full of cute kids, families trying to stay cool in the heat and plenty of folks who said they saw Thompson on TV Tuesday when WAVE 3 News reporter John Boel busted him for faking mental and physical disabilities.
After being confronted by Boel on camera Thompson replied, "I'll break that camera." Boel countered, "I thought you couldn't get out of your wheelchair?"
"You would think he would be trying to hide from people, especially from John Boel," said Louisvillian Patricia Cox.
Metro Police also saw our story. Officer Todd Anderson was working the Big Four Bridge detail when he recognized Thompson. LMPD spokesman Dwight Mitchell said of Anderson and another officer, "At that point they were able to find out, that he did have an outstanding warrant on him from another county."
That warrant was from Boone County. Thompson also has a warrant for his arrest in Barren County and his latest mug shot is one of many, as court records show Thompson has been in trouble with the law in at least seven Kentucky counties.
Folks we talked to can't believe he was so bold to do it again.
"I am surprised," said Peter Cox. "After seeing him on TV, I would be surprised that anybody would want to try it again because everybody has seen the face, you know?"
Viewers said, they were pleased police spotted him, but are angry it happened at a place where families who likely are willing to help someone in need, became sitting ducks.
Police said they believe there are other fake beggars operating in Louisville, but not up to Thompson's level. Police and homeless advocates agree, the only way it will stop is when people stop giving beggars money. A better option? Direct them to a local food kitchen and shelters. Many shelters, like Wayside Christian Mission, will pick a homeless person when notified.
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