A woman who was asking for money to buy “baby stuff” on a New Jersey road was caught with a new iPhone X in her $500 purse, according to local media reports.
Local authorities said in a Facebook post that the woman was walking in and out of traffic on Monday in the township of Union, New Jersey — part of the larger New York metropolitan area. The panhandler was holding a sign and attempting to elicit help from drivers.
“I have 1 baby. Please in the name of God help me to buy baby stuff and diapers,” the sign read. The sign also had a picture of a young child on it.
But, in fact, the woman’s story didn’t appear to check out. Instead, it seemed like she was attempting to scam drivers out of their money.
Reportedly, some concerned citizens had stopped to see if the woman was okay. When she started acting evasive, they called the police, authorities told the New York Daily News.
When officers arrived, they pointed out to her that she was carrying a $500 purse, a new iPhone X, and some assorted jewelry. Police told her she didn’t look like she really needed the cash.
The woman told police that she was from Romania but was now living in Queens. When questioned, she admitted that the child on the sign she was holding wasn’t hers.
She also told police that she and several others had been “dropped off” to panhandle around New Jersey. It isn’t readily clear what she meant by that.
The woman was issued a ticket for impeding traffic and received a summons for soliciting without a permit.
After the incident, the Township of Union Police Department took to Facebook to expose the woman and caution residents about fraudulent panhandlers.
“It is nice to be charitable, but it’s not a good idea to donate to someone on the side of the road,” the post reads. “If you see someone who may need help, you can call our HQ and our officers will respond and assess.”