Some people like to give causes that have a personal meaning for them when it comes to charity. However, when we see a person in need out on the street, we can not deny that it touches our hearts. That’s good to hear, but there are also times when people on the streets don’t seem to be who they are …
In the United States, homelessness is an unspoken yet growing epidemic. With around 550,000 people without shelter, comfort, food, and protection every night, this number is increasing every year.
Every American faces poverty, yet some of them choose to remain silent. Some, however, refuse to fall victim to this kind of stigma. Being on the streets is something that none of us can begin to understand.
A Dark Secret
Being alone and struggling is one thing, but worse than being pregnant and having no food or shelter. And yet, people still chose to pass her by. When Melissa Smith came to the picture, she was in desperate need of help.
As she stood beside her son, the woman held a sign begging for change and assistance. With her ginormous belly, she stayed in the corner, waiting for some generosity. The strangers who passed by could see this woman carrying a child, but what they never expected was the secret that she was carrying.
Melissa couldn’t help but suffer emotionally when she saw this woman. She couldn’t bear to see this woman standing around, carrying a baby all day, and next to her was her young son. She sometimes noticed that her husband had come to help, but it was only on the weekends.
What was it that Smith might have done to help now? As she kept staring in front of her, she was frozen to the spot where she was standing. She was trying to come up with some other reason, but there was only one thing to think of.
What was it that Smith could do now to help? She was frozen to the spot she was standing on as she kept staring in front of her. She tried to come up with any other reason, but only one thing came to mind.
East Lake Village Center
She felt manipulated! It was hard for her to believe what she saw. Did that panhandler get into a nice car? She knew that only one thing had to be done: follow her and find out! She did not know what she was about to get into.
Melissa Smith is a San Diego, California, resident. As usual, she was going about her day when she found the panhandler in the same location. But she felt something strange was happening, which is why she followed her instincts and put on her detective hat.
She saw the beggar and her little boy leave since she was standing right next to her car. Melissa saw the next thing that made her spring into action. The beggar often stayed at a certain spot not so far from the East Lake Village Center shopping plaza, where thrift stores, dentists, hairstylists, restaurants, and other shops are located.
This pregnant panhandler knew that it was a good place to stay as many people would not hesitate to help people in need. It was clear, though, that this woman did not expect what Melissa Smith was up to.
It is not all that surprising in California to find homeless people and beggars on the streets. Not every single one of them, however, is homeless. This is well known to a lot of people. When she saw the woman on the weekends, she refrained from reaching that line of thought, even though she felt uneasiness about this pregnant beggar.
Smith said, “I felt bad. There’s a pregnant lady with a little boy who is down on her luck.” Who would have thought her gut instinct was leading her exactly to the right path? Smith saw this pregnant beggar standing under the heat of the sun many times, asking for money.
Woman in Question
The panhandler did not always go by herself, though. There were times when her son or her partner joined her. They would also stand in that spot when this happens. As there were not many beggars over there, they became famous among the people who frequented the area.
Almost everyone felt bad because she was pregnant, so they often gave her more money. But what did Smith eventually discover? Melissa entered the local gas station and caught a glimpse of the woman, noticing that she was the pregnant beggar.
Her Recognizable Sign
Later, however, she noticed a bizarre and surprising sight. Something she’d never have seen coming. Up until that day, there was no reason for Smith to be suspicious. She’s seen the beggar stay in the same place for two months.
She assumed, of course, that this pregnant woman was truly in need. Also, because it was already hard enough to remain rooted on the spot, she felt sympathetic, which was probably more dangerous for someone expecting!
At The Gas Station
There was something Smith learned about this person, though. It sure seemed that this pregnant beggar knew the art of begging by heart already. To make some money, she mastered how to tug at the heartstrings.
For one thing, while pregnant and standing beside your child, she must have known that it was going to be easier to do that. She also had a cardboard sign on it containing the words “Please help.”
Many people gave her money because they felt bad for her. While Smith knew it was only a matter of time before she was caught, time became crucial. Smith lived in the vicinity of this shopping district.
During this particular time, however, she did not normally drop by the place. She would normally do her mid-morning errands there. On that day, everything she had to do for the day had just been completed.
She completed her errands at the East Lake Village Center, so she went to the nearby gas station. She was, after all, low on gas. But after she loaded the car, something suspicious caught her eye. What was it?
She saw the pregnant beggar move away as she filled the gas tank of her car. She didn’t think it was all that strange. She was sure, after all, that it was tiring to stay under the sun’s heat for such a long time!
After that, Smith saw the beggar, and then he saw a car heading toward her. She found herself more interested in what would happen next. It proved that her hunch was correct. She didn’t know exactly what was going on at the beginning.
After getting a better look at the car, she noticed that the person in the driver’s seat was the father of the little boy. What really surprised her, though, was that the car came from Mercedes Benz, a luxury carmaker!
She knew it cost an extortionate amount for those cars, so what were these beggars doing in one? When she started the car to follow them around, she did not even have to think twice. What made it even more interesting, according to Smith, was how new the car looked.
Their Next Move
She said, “They were leaving, and I noticed they went into a Mercedes Benz. I thought, ‘Wow, a Mercedes Benz?’” She took her phone and recorded it all. “Lo and behold, they were in front of us. Here they are counting money, laughing. Their little boy is not in a car seat or a seat belt. He’s in the front seat with them,” she narrated.
As she followed the Mercedes Benz, she saw all these things happening before her. Smith felt so betrayed by these people. Although she needed them to be exposed, she wanted to learn more first.
She continued to follow the car that took her not so far from where she first saw them, to another shopping center. It seemed like all was perfectly planned out. The pregnant beggar got out of the car and then once again made a fool of the mall-goers.
The Saga Continues
To see where they were going, Melissa followed the couple. She was still the compassionate girl she had always been at the end of the day, and she wanted to give them the benefit of the doubt. She hoped that all of this was a misunderstanding.
Enraged with Fury
But for her, sadly, things were only going to get more shocking. Smith said, “She sits there with the sign. He goes (and) parks the Mercedes. They put up the sign and not less than five minutes; here she is getting money from all these people.”
An Eye Witness
Even so, Smith had no clue that the authorities would soon investigate this insanely tactical, yet not tactical enough, the operation. At work, they were going to discover something even more sinister than Smith thought in the first place.
As the man parked the Mercedes while the woman got out with her son at another shop curb, the deception continued. In a matter of minutes, the woman started to receive money from the people walking by.
Melissa couldn’t just watch it. She had something to do with it. Smith and the little boy came up to the panhandler but took pictures all the time. The pregnant beggar saw her and was immediately angry.
People Were Catching On
The panhandler began shouting at her and even prevented the rock from supporting her sign. Smith explained, “Next thing I know, she picked up this big boulder.” She went on, “I don’t know if pregnant people can do that…”
Fortunately for Melissa, an eye witness was watching the entire interaction and called 911 immediately. The con woman made an abrupt escape and, by the time the cops arrived at the scene, had fled the scene.
Smith said everything she knew to the police. “…but it was pretty big over her head and coming at me with this rock.” It was a good thing that someone witnessed the unfolding of this moment and called the police.
The beggar, however, figured out what was taking place and ran away with her son. Smith contacted a news station and went to the Internet to disclose the scam. She was hoping to warn everyone about this grand scheme that the deceitful group had devised.
The story began to spread to the news station, which they then ran the plate number of the car. They were surprised to find the vehicle registered under the name of a woman. Unfortunately, in the records, there was no address.
“Is This You?”
It was also shocking to learn that others were onto the same beggar. Reporters have investigated themselves and learned that this woman lives in Encinitas Heights Apartments. It was an apartment complex that costs $2,500 a month to the residents.
Things Are Fishy
Reporters tried to knock on the door a few times, although no one answered the door. Until someone let them know, after a few more attempts, that there were new residents. The old ones packed up their stuff and moved out of it!
Smith was able to record everything she witnessed on her phone, which is why the mystery beggar started to get a lot of attention to news and social media. The story has begun to spread more and more widely.
A New Disguise
Smith said, “I feel bad. Don’t give these people money. They don’t need it. They’re driving a Benz.” After people found out the truth, they were infuriated. The journalists also received an important call. The beggar was found at a different shopping center by a witness named Rebecca.
Rebecca went there and saw the panhandler, and, as she had said, she immediately recognized her. She let reporters know about it. It only took reporter Emily Valdez a few minutes to get to the scene.
Valdez went to the area right away after she received the call. She looked around for this mystery beggar. She was surprised to find that she was no longer pregnant. If anything, she was already carrying a baby!
Melisa Smith had only taken those photos two days before, so how was this possible? Valdez and the rest of the crew had approached the woman. Valdez pulled up her phone and held up the photo of the pregnant beggar before asking, “Is this you, begging?”
Under the Exterior
The woman only said she didn’t speak English after she looked at the photo for a while. She was accompanied by a boy who looked just like the boy in the photo, except for the baby she was holding.
The Truth Comes Out
When the father arrived, the crew were in the middle of questioning her. He told the press members to scram and took his family with him. They were captured by cameras, going inside a minivan.
The crew did not feel discouraged and carried the female pictures on a facial recognition program. In the end, the findings showed an 80% match! Valdez believed that the story was even bigger than they thought it was.
The crew did not feel discouraged by this and ran the women’s photos on the facial recognition program. In the end, the findings showed an 80% match! Valdez believed that the story was even bigger than they thought it was.
Breaking Many Laws
They were at imminent risk. The man began speaking in Spanish, although he spoke in another language when he spoke to the female beggar. The small detail blows his cover.