Grass Valley police: Number of out-of-town panhandlers increasing | TheUnion.com

Grass Valley police: Number of out-of-town panhandlers increasing

Grass Valley police have seen the panhandlers before.

They're not from the area. They identify themselves with passports. And they're taking advantage of the kindness of Nevada County's residents, Sgt. Dan Kimbrough said.

"Grass Valley has seen an increase in out-of-town panhandlers," he added.

Kimbrough attributes the rise in panhandlers to warmer weather. Holidays also appear to swell their numbers.

“We’re starting to see it again. It’s unfortunate, because they’re pulling on the heartstrings of our citizens.”

— Grass Valley Police Sgt. Dan Kimbrough

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Police have investigated, speaking to both the panhandlers themselves and other law enforcement agencies. Authorities believe that someone brings the panhandlers to this area, drops them off and then retrieves them at day's end, pocketing any money that's collected, Kimbrough said.

"It's all of the shopping centers," he added. "We're starting to see it again. It's unfortunate, because they're pulling on the heartstrings of our citizens."

Officers either warn panhandlers or cite them if found in areas prohibited by the city's ordinance. Prohibited spots include medians; public transportation stops; financial institutions and ATMs; gas stations and fuel pumps; and driveways into shopping centers and businesses.

Police had no specific numbers over the holiday weekend for citations issued. However, Kimbrough said officers issue more warnings than citations.

Kimbrough asked the public to contact police if they see someone violating the city's panhandling ordinance. That ordinance restricts panhandlers from touching people, persistently soliciting money from them, restricting their movements or making threats.

"If they want to give, give to one of the local charities in town," Kimbrough said.

To contact Staff Writer Alan Riquelmy, email ariquelmy@theunion.com or call 530-477-4239.