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Caution encouraged after recent aggressive panhandling cases

By Victoria Advocate
July 6, 2011 at 2:06 a.m.


To report harassmentCall the Victoria Police Department: 361-573-3221.

A Victoria woman was approached twice in two days by the same panhandler, but at different stores.

The 56-year-old woman was approached by a panhandler in the H-E-B Plus parking lot on June 19.

Police said the man is the same who aggressively approached her on June 17 outside Carino's Restaurant.

In the H-E-B parking lot, the woman noticed a green Pontiac Grand AM with tinted windows. She saw four men come out of the vehicle, approaching women as they entered or left the store.

To avoid encountering them, she parked as close to the store's entrance as she could, but as she got out of her car, one of the men approached her, according to the police report.

A 49-year-old Victoria man responded to the situation, asking the woman to stay in her car while he told the 34-year-old man to leave, according to the police report.

As the man retreated to the Grand Am and left the parking lot, the former prison guard escorted the woman inside.

The woman said in the police report she was grateful for the man's help.

Victoria Police Officer Jeffrey Strauss took reports on both incidents.

The police later found the suspect approaching women in the Victoria Mall parking lot, but they had to release him because he had not been officially charged with a crime, Strauss said.

Employees at H-E-B Plus warned employees of the H-E-B on Rio Grande Street about the potential threat.

A criminal trespass warning will be issued if the man is seen in the parking lot of H-E-B Plus at Navarro again, according to the police report.

The trespassing order allows anyone who sees him to report him to the police, who would be able to arrest him for criminal trespassing, Strauss said.

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