Springfield police warns drivers of “potential” funeral scam

Published: Oct. 11, 2022 at 9:45 PM CDT
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - Springfield Police are warning people about a “potential scam.”

Officers contacted several people wearing traffic vests at a busy intersection in Springfield, asking for donations for a teenager’s funeral. Springfield police say it violates city ordinances. Police say the panhandlers even walked into traffic to get money wearing bright vests. Police say they are seeing this in other nearby cities too.

“These people were just being more aggressive and getting up all in your face and everything,” said Connie Pugh, a driver who witnessed it. “They were asking for a funeral for a 15-year-old child.”

Officers received calls about the group. Pugh says she knew they weren’t from the area because panhandling like this violates a city ordinance. A similar group was spotted in Buffalo, Missouri. The sign had a different name for the teen’s funeral.

Buffalo police also sent out a warning about this group.

”There was this picture of this woman, and look like the same woman I had seen down on Sunshine and West Bypass,” said Pugh. “When you got people that are walking the intersections impeding traffic really, then you know that is dangerous for everybody.”

Drivers spotted the same people along Glenstone and Sunshine. And SPD says intersections along Kearney as well.

”It’s a violation of our city ordinance, and for whatever reason that they are giving. It may not be a legitimate purpose,” said Lt. Steve Schwind, Springfield Police. “It’s not only a violation for the pedestrian to approach vehicles to solicit money and take any type of donations from the roadway, but it’s also a violation of the ordinance for the motorists to stop and give money to the pedestrian.”

Pugh says panhandling in Springfield is getting out of hand and hopes the city starts cracking down on the problem.

”If that is a scam that they were doing over the weekend, I hope these people get caught,” said Pugh.

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