(Nacogdoches Tx) Nacogdoches has recently seen an increase in "panhandling", or persons asking others for money. This activity has increased in front of businesses and in shopping areas.
According to police, an increase in young people approaching young people, some of whom are juveniles, has been seen in Nacogdoches in recent weeks.
While asking someone for money is not illegal, it can lead to criminal charges if the solicitor intimidates someone into giving them money. "It is the perception of the person being approached", said Sgt. Greg Sowell of the Nacogdoches Police Department. "If the person being asked for money feels intimidated to give, the act could be a robbery".
Business owners are being encouraged not to allow panhandling on their property. Business owners and managers have the right to ask panhandlers to leave. If they do not leave the property, or return after being told not to do so, they can be charged with criminal trespass.
Police discourage anyone from practicing panhandling. "Someone could commit a felony offense if they are not careful. The best practice is just not to do it", Sowell added.