Police make example of ‘homeless’ man begging with $800 in pockets

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Photo of $800 found in a homeless man's pockets. (From the Slidell Police Department)

Photo of $800 found in a homeless man's pockets. (From the Slidell Police Department)

SLIDELL, La. -- The police department in Slidell, Louisiana tackled the issue of homelessness on their Facebook page last week in a very unapologetic way, highlighting a specific incident that happened this week.

"Transients, also known as beggars or homeless, are often a hot topic of debate for Slidell residents. There are people who feel these individuals all need to be arrested. Some feel they should offer help," the post reads. "Literally, every day, someone either calls Slidell Police or sends us a message on Facebook asking us to do something about this problem."

The post describes a man, 59-year-old Franklin Jones, who reportedly begs at the intersection of Gause and Interstate 10, according to WGNO. Police can't arrest Jones because begging isn't a crime. But on May 21, Jones was spotted stumbling into the road, urinating on the side of the road and he allegedly stole a shopping cart, police said.

Upon his arrest, police found over $800 in his pockets.

Here's an excerpt from the post:

We continue to offer help, but when you can make $800 in less than a week by “begging”, some people say, “Why get a real job?” We’ve found jobs for people. We’ve offered assistance by bringing some of these individuals to rehab facilities. Bottom line is, it’s up to the individual person if they want help or not. All we can do is guide them in the right direction. We can’t force people to do things...

Slidell Police does their best to address these issues by following the letter of the law and ensuring that no one’s rights are violated. There is no easy solution to this problem, and quite frankly, it is a much bigger and deeper issue than a strictly a police matter. We hope this sheds some light for our Slidell residents and hopefully answered any questions or concerns about this issue.

Some responded in support of the post, while others blasted police for publicly shaming the man.

25 comments

  • Um....

    Well, unfortunately this man isn’t guilty of anything other than laziness and a complete lack of pride-until states strengthen their vagrancy laws and make panhandling illegal, nothing can really be done. It isn’t his fault if people are stupid enough to give him money. If you just hand over money to someone on the street, like as not it’ll get used for drugs or alcohol anyway-these folks may look sad, but the reality is that many of them are drug addicts and this is the way they pay for a fix. One way to find out who actually needs food and necessities is to offer them, and see what reaction you get-I’ve heard of people getting cursed at for offering homeless people food instead of money, or referring them to a shelter. Honestly, if you want to help the homeless, donate your time and/or money to a shelter, or some reputable place that helps people who really need it.

      • J Rick

        He is absolutely guilty of something. Urinating in public is against the law. If you don’t like the law then try to change it. Stealing a shopping cart? Not exactly legal is it? He is working by “working the public sympathy”. I have no problem at all with that. Just “work” within the rules.

    • Jessica

      The guy with $800 in his pocket isn’t on his way to get a fix. If that were the case the money would have been long gone $750 dollars ago.

  • MC

    I see nothing wrong with the post, except possibly having the homeless man’s picture shown. Then there’s the flip side, I’d want to know if I was donating to a person making more than twice what I make in a week when I actually work for my income.

  • Ed

    When I see someone begging for money on the side of the street, I now just look at it is an occupation. I tell my wife frequently “at least they are working”. It is up to you to give them money or not.

  • leadfootjen

    There is no proof that this man made $800 in one week. He just happened to have that in his pockets. it could be all the money he has in the world. I mean, where else is he going to keep it and who would bother trying to rob a homeless dude when they are usually poor? Idk, I can understand the frustration behind the homeless issue bc the one show abuse the situation do give it a bad name but those who really need help now won’t get it bc of the negative message this post delivered.

  • Mark Dale Covington

    If I were to find a that money someone left behind, I would notify the police about it first. And if the owner were to not claim it within a certain length of time & it were to become mine, I would actually put all of it except for whatever cash I might need into my bank account.

  • Sandy

    I wonder what will happen if I & my 2 grandkids start begging on street since we got homeless & have no help even tried gofund.me

  • wayne t baker

    Man it is completely disgusting. Making an example of this type rather than the morally corrupt and financially bankrupt Wall-Street ” too big to fail , too big to jail” bankers. This is a sick and. misguided assumption that by going after a beggar is time spent wisely. Shame on those who ” felt” this was serving the public interest. $800.00 was obviously given to this man by those who did not see him as a threat or annoyance, but rather out of an act of charity. Also, there is no , proof this was gotten in one week.

  • Kevin

    People need to read Homeless Person Adventures by Tony Teapot. It shows both the real homeless and scammers. One of the most fascinating books around.

  • sylvia garrity

    maybe just maybe this man-being homeless had nowhere else but on his person to hold that money-is there proof he made all this money in one week? maybe just maybe he is actually trying to save up money to pull himself out of his personal hell-then again maybe not-NOT ALL homeless people are out to rip us off and they are HUMILIATED by the need to beg-I HAVE BEEN THERE- now i am working and eeking by but am totally grateful that all that humiliation, fear and horror is behind me-thank you to all who had the heart to help especially to a military man named chris and a lovely young lady from cnu in virginia for her loving hear who had a warm coffee with me on a very cold, snowy day and took me shopping at a grocery store-remember homeless people have NOWHERE to wash or store their clothes etc-it’s no picnic

  • sylvia garrity

    it wasn’t cool or respectful to urinate there tho-there are places available to relieve ones self and i could wash up some in certain bathrooms and made sure to clean up after myself and leave it nice for the next person

  • CrystalC

    I am pinching pennies more than you can even imagine and I have a husband with a wonderful government job. You didn’t mention any wife or kids. That would have been a huge part of the story.

  • Heidi

    Utah use to have a huge homeless/pan handling problem. They now have no homeless pan handlers. They have opened up a homeless shelter where the homeless can eat and sleep and get assistance in finding jobs. Then they told the communities that these things are offered and to please no longer give financial assistance to the homeless and instead direct them to the shelter. It worked the real homeless go and get help, those that are just out for easy money have moved on to other cities.

  • Mindy P.

    Publicly shaming him ??? This con artist should have been made to turn all that money over to a homeless shelter !!!!! Also, whenever a man comes up to me and asks me for money I offer to buy them a meal and BAM!!! the guy walks off. This only tells me that 1) he’s looking for money for booze or drugs; or 2) he has money and is looking to make more by begging as a homeless person. This just really burns me whenever I see this happening, especially from men who appear to be healthy, well oriented to where he is and what the day and time is, and if the guy smells of alcohol !!!! I outright tell the guy to get a job and stop looking to women to support his tired, raggedy butt !!!!

  • Brooke

    I don’t know the guy and none of us know the whole situation. I want to know where they’re getting that he made $800 in a week. If you’re homeless, you carry everything you have and don’t want to lose. Nobody knows how long it took him to save that money. There are also lots of services you can’t get (including some jobs) without a home address. You can even lose your bank account for bad credit. Homeless people steal shopping carts every minute of every day. That doesn’t make it right, but it hardly makes him a monster. He’s disrespectful for urinating in public and/or being drunk in public. That, also, does not make him someone who doesn’t need help and is scamming anyone. Addicts don’t have $800 on them. It’s gone as soon as they get their hands on it.

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