Officers say a man and woman panhandling in various locations with their two young children admit to making begging their profession.
Last week, Modesto Police officers followed up on complaints about panhandlers in a parking lot along Pelandale Avenue. Cops found Marian Hornea holding a sign asking for help, nearby Elena Hornea was standing with the couple’s two children.
The couple, from Sacramento, are self-proclaimed Romanian Gypsies; they told officers they use an organized list of locations along the Central Valley to panhandle as their income.
Hornea told investigators he uses his 5-and-7-year-old children to gain sympathy.
In the couple’s possession were two money transfer receipts, showing they sent $2,000 and $1,700 to relatives in Romania.
In the two hours they were set up at the Pelandale Avenue location, Modesto Police say the couple made more than $360 in cash, and several gift cards to nearby restaurants.
Both Marian and Elena Hornea were cited for panhandling and released.
Modesto Police, and other agencies, encourage people to instead donate money to organizations that provide assistance, meals and shelter, rather than directly to individual panhandlers.