SPRINGFIELD, Mo. - Springfield police are cracking down on aggressive panhandlers asking for cash along the city's streets. Police officers received complaints about homeless people panhandling at locations throughout the city. On Monday, officers responded to those complaints by citing and arresting violators. They made numerous arrests at Kearney and U.S. 65, Kearney and Glenstone, Kansas Expressway and I-44.
Larry Wells carries a sign that says “homeless with Jesus.” He says people often stop at intersections to give him money. “I have people stop and say ‘I love your sign, here,’” Wells said. The homeless man says he is heading west. “I don't want to do this. My mother would roll over in her grave if she saw me but I'm going to eat and I'm not going to steal,” Wells said. “What's left? It's a job you stand there with a sign.”
Because of complaints, officers in unmarked cars patrolled areas known to attract panhandlers. Wells says he saw officers arrest four people near Kansas Expressway and I-44. “I just happened to be up there drinking a cup of coffee. I saw it all happen,” Wells said. “They come up to me afterward and said ‘we know who you are. Next time you are going too.’” Officers placed another man in cuffs off Glenstone Avenue.