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Police expect to receive more reports about panhandler who lies about mental disabilty

LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - A man accused of lying to prey upon people's generosity is most likely back to his old tricks

30-year-old Gary Thompson was arrested and charged with begging and theft, but was released and he told us he wasn't going to stop. Police say he pretended he had mental disabilities in order to get handouts.

After telling you about Gary Thompson, a man who admits to scamming people every day, many viewers asked us wondered why he isn't still in jail. Lexington police say theft by deception and begging charges typically come with a short jail sentence and small fines.

30-year-old, Gary Thompson says he makes a living by people feeling sorry for him and giving him money at several Lexington shopping centers.

He fessed up to our cameras on Monday about pretending to have a mental disability, which he does not have.

He told us he's never had a real job but used to have money, from a settlement after his guardian sued Honda after he was involved in an accident on a motorcycle in Garrad County . We checked with the Garrad County courthouse, and found that Thompson received 30,000 in 1994.

He says when that money ran out, he started panhandling. While he says he won't stop what he is doing, now that his scam is public he may have to tweek his act.

"I mean people give people in wheelchairs money that are handicap, I'll just not act retarded anymore and get their money and I'll be normal. I am normal. It just helps to be mentally handicapped," Thompson said.

There were numerous comments on our Facebook Page after we aired this story. Many people frustrated that he isn't locked up. Police tell us they have to actually catch him in the act of begging, or deceiving people before they can make an arrest. Police expect to get more calls about Thompson now that many people know what he is doing.

Thompson tells us he went to college at Western and studied speech pathology which lead him to panhandling.


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