By Lucas Southwell
According to several different police reports the same suspect was encountered multiple times trespassing and panhandling on campus with one disputed report of him pulling on car door handles.
A Grand Rapids Police Department Officer was patrolling Raleigh J. Finkelstein Hall on Oct. 28 when he walked up to the suspect and woman standing in front of the elevators and overheard him ask the woman for money and saw her give him $2. The suspect then began to walk away at which point the officer asked the woman if he had been panhandling to which the woman responded yes.
The officer then stopped the suspect and asked him if he was a student. The suspect initially claimed that he was indeed a student but when pressed to show student ID he changed his story to say that he was trying to become a student. At this time he was given a warning about trespassing and panhandling and escorted from the building.
On Nov. 4 the same suspect was apprehended at the north end of Bostwick commons near the entrance to the student center following multiple complaints of aggressive panhandling. During this encounter it was discovered that the suspect was also involved in 2 other incidents involving trespassing and panhandling last year. Officers informed the suspect of the Grand Rapids Community College’s trespassing policy and warned him that he would be arrested if he was identified panhandling on campus again.
On Nov. 5 someone called in to report that a man matching the suspect’s description was seen pulling on the door handles of parked cars on Prospect Ave. near Fountain St.. According to the caller the man was also aggressively panhandling a female student and it seemed as though he might get physical with her when 3 GRCC academy cadets stopped their unmarked cars in the road.
When the man saw the cadets and their uniforms he took off towards the entrance to the devos campus on Fountain St. where he reportedly banged on the passenger window of an unmarked cadet’s car that was entering the drive. When the cadet got out in uniform the man said he just wanted to know the time and ran off east of Fountain St.. Officers were unable to find the man following this complaint.
Later that same day the suspect was walking south on Prospect Ave. when officers in a police car encountered him. According to the reporting officer the suspect began to run when he saw the cop car but complied when the officer called out for him to stop. The suspect was confronted with the report made earlier in the day but he denied all of it. The suspect said that he was a man of God and that he got a check every Friday so he didn’t need to steal from cars. He did admit to panhandling but claimed that it was better than stealing.
Since the female victim was unknown and there were no officers who witnessed the events it was decided to let the suspect go. He was, however, given a stern warning and told if he comes on campus, even if he’s just walking around, he will be arrested for trespassing.