The Fort Wayne Police Department wants people to know panhandling is illegal in the city.
“Panhandling is illegal in the City of Fort Wayne,” said Fort Wayne Police Department Public Information Officer Sofia Rosales-Scatena. “It’s a city ordinance. It’s 99.010. ‘You may not solicit funds on a median or park strip on a major arterial way.'”
Even though it is against the law, at least one man does it anyway.
“It’s better than completely living on the street with nothing,” said the man who spoke to WANE 15 News under the condition of anonymity. “Like I said, it does put a roof over my head sometimes. I do live in a tent.”
The man has been handling for a number of years now. In that time, he said he has gotten one ticket for $185 that he paid off in monthly payments. He said panhandling gets territorial at times.
“Everybody tries to push other people around. If you go out to Southgate (Plaza), and when there’s three or four people out there, you see what happens,” the man said. “You could be in one spot and go into Burger King and go to the bathroom and come out and somebody will have your spot so that kind of makes you kind of upset.”
The man said he has applications out to get a job, but he has had “no luck” so far.
Fort Wayne Police say the law exists out of concern for public safety.
“You’re talking major throughways…Goshen, Coliseum, anywhere on West Jefferson, it’s dangerous to be anywhere in the street,” said Rosales-Scatena.
Police say multiple fines and warnings can lead to incarceration for panhandling.