BEWARE! Panhandlers in the Target Shopping Center in Pleasant Hill

February 17, 2013 16:00 pm · 81 comments

Shoppers in Pleasant Hill, be on alert today for the professional panhandlers!

Here’s a note from a Claycordian who came into contact with two of them….

My wife and I went to In-N-Out in Pleasant Hill. We went through the drive-thru because we were listening to the radio, and thought we’d just stay in the car and eat our food.

After we got our food, we parked near Toys R Us. About a minute after parking, I look out my window to see a 12-year-old (give or take a year) holding a sign that says “my family is hungry”. Her mother was standing behind her, in awful looking clothes. She motioned at me to roll down our window, which I did. I offered her my french fries, and in a foreign accent, she said “we need money”. I said “but your sign says you are hungry”, and she said “we need money no food”. I then rolled my window back up. Her mom then started knocking on my window and said “money please”. I actually had to back out of the spot and leave to get rid of them. They were the most annoying and pushy panhandlers I have ever met.

I know you have written about them in the past, but I wanted to let people know they are out in full force today, and they’re not taking “no” for an answer.

Thanks for the note. Yes, they are professional panhandlers. They work as a group. Several women will get dropped off by a man in a van at certain locations, often with children, and beg until they get a certain amount of money, or until the police kick them out.

Beware, they’re scammers! About a year ago, the Concord Police arrested one of the women, and she had thousands of dollars in her pocket, and she was allegedly high on drugs.

1 anon February 17, 2013 at 4:07 PM

Years ago a TV station followed a guy in SF with a cardboard BART & to his hole (which he owned ) in El Cerrito & rang the doorbell & he answeed–it was a total scam & tax free– there are soup kitchens in every town –never give them anyhting–it us used for alcohol & drugs

2 RaiderNation February 17, 2013 at 4:17 PM

I had the same Expirence at Park n Shop the lady looked Middle-eastern.

3 effer February 17, 2013 at 4:23 PM

Lowest of the low

4 Em Dubya February 17, 2013 at 4:31 PM

Here’s a solution – a panhandler’s bill of rights. That will fix everything. Greedy people shouldn’t be able to flaunt their meals in their parked cars.

5 Howard K. Mullins III February 17, 2013 at 4:32 PM

Gypsies are back.

6 scammers February 17, 2013 at 4:33 PM

I cant stand people who make their children stand there all day with them when they should be out playing with other kids, That should be illeagal and they should charge them with child neglect

7 Craig Cannon February 17, 2013 at 4:35 PM

Is it the Gypsies? I’m driving by! Sad, Kids involved.

8 Elwood February 17, 2013 at 4:35 PM

They’re Roma.

Gypsies in other words. The men lay around on their fat asses and send the women and children out to beg.

9 rochelle February 17, 2013 at 4:36 PM

I think I know exactly who those people are, I sometimes stop over in that area at target to buy my usual naked smoothie since it’s a bit cheaper then buying at safeway near by, and I would see a kid around that age give or take with a woman nearby asking me for money, I just glare at them for a quick second then walk off..

10 clonpet February 17, 2013 at 4:52 PM

you should never roll your window down to anyone you don’t know, once you roll your window down, you’re a sitting duck for a carjacker… just drive off.

11 itsme February 17, 2013 at 4:53 PM

Several times over the past 6 months or so there has been a lady, dark hair with a child in a stroller at the driveway on the side street at Target in Walnut Creek asking for money. I wonder if they are connected.

12 Dorothy February 17, 2013 at 5:03 PM

When I worked in the City, I would see them on BART going to “work” on the streets. Sometimes I had to work late and would see them coming back. They made more than I did and all tax free because begging isn’t considered an occupation. Only twice in all my years, did someone say they were hungry and actully went with me to get food that I paid for.

13 Piekies February 17, 2013 at 5:05 PM

Finally , someone new to bash,
the homeless need a break.

14 Craig Cannon February 17, 2013 at 5:08 PM

Most of us would spend a few bucks to feed them and the Child. Oh no they won’t take any of your food, just money. They don’t want help, and there is help through my Church and most others. Just give us your money! Who has the addiction here, and who suffers for it. The Children. How are they going to grow up? Disgusting, but society just moves them along to the next lot.

15 Inthebarrio February 17, 2013 at 5:18 PM

Beware of the gypsies! I’ve seen the men offer to do bodywork. Had one live nearby. Hack it up and fill with bondo.

16 Dr. Jellyfinger February 17, 2013 at 5:36 PM

I always just tell panhandles to “f%& off” but not Gypsies! A Gyp can point at you & give you that high brow vulture eye (kind of like Michelle Obama does) and whisper a hex to put an evil curse on you. Remember that Steven King story “Thinner”? True story. It required no imagination to write it – all pure fact! It actually happened in Eugene, OR. in 1982. Gypsy comes begging? Give ‘em at least $5 and be happy you got away cheap.

17 Mimi (original) February 17, 2013 at 5:55 PM

Tried to give food once to a guy holding a sign that said, “will work for food”. He wouldn’t take the food. My hubby said it was because the guy wanted to be brought to the house to “work” and then come back later to rob us. I’m so saddened that people like that ruin it for people who really could use help. I no longer give money to any beggar, whether they are men, women or have children with them. I’ve been victimized for my good heart.

18 anon February 17, 2013 at 6:11 PM

Sounds like Gypsies. Saw them all over Eastern Europe. The husband would work during the day, and the wife and children would beg on the streets.

19 PH Neighbor February 17, 2013 at 6:36 PM

Right, we can’t roll our window down any more to see what someone is trying to say something to us while at a stop…car jack waiting to happen!
So darn creepy! Wish they would run into L.E. there soon.

I have a friend in Folsom, last year around this time, came home to her retirement complex, two women and children had her attention as soon as she got out of her car. They were asking if she knew where to buy one of her wooden bear yard ornaments or something. One adult says my daughter really needs to use the restroom. She let the two in…well…you can guess what happened…the so called mother went through her purse…stole all her credit cards when she wasn’t looking. These women I feel, could be the same type of group…had a accent, caucasian & fairly young.

20 Malice N. Wonderland February 17, 2013 at 6:44 PM

Next time give them a dollar, fatty.

21 Parsnip February 17, 2013 at 6:48 PM

I’m glad to see that the majority of people have caught on to sign-holding scammers begging for money.

Still, you come across the occasional dimwit who rolls down his/her car window and tosses a couple of quarters. It’s not out of benevolence; rather, it gives the “donator” a temporary high to find someone claiming to be more impoverished than them.

Bottom feeders look for algae of their own.

22 Triple Canopy February 17, 2013 at 6:49 PM

Draw up a large looch and spit on them.

23 JRConcord February 17, 2013 at 6:53 PM

when a bum asks if I have any extra money I always reply ” yes but not for you” and I continue on my way. I will tell these folks the same if they bother my at the in and out.

24 claycord momma February 17, 2013 at 7:00 PM

What race were the panhandlers? Were they of Asian decent?

25 Anonymous February 17, 2013 at 7:10 PM

No doubt Desaulnier will introduce a bill to help these deserving, needy people.

26 lg February 17, 2013 at 7:38 PM

@EmDubya. Obama’s on it!!!!!!!!!!!!

27 co-co-res February 17, 2013 at 7:54 PM

they’ve been on BART trains and around BART stations in SF of late too; women and children panhandling.

28 Elwood February 17, 2013 at 7:59 PM

@ Piekies #13

If you think those people are homeless, I have some oil leases in the Target parking lot I would like to interest you in.

29 co-co-res February 17, 2013 at 7:59 PM

I forgot to mention that last time I was at that Target, they were at the exit getting people as they were coming or going into the shopping center by the In-N-Out Burger. Yes, I feel sorry for the children having to do that all day too.

30 Randome Task February 17, 2013 at 8:07 PM

blah blah same thing same time last year and the year before we have barked up this tree, and unless it can be used medicinally, it dont get a vote. The bums and panhandleing is the first step to becomeing a wasted investment and town that wanted to be as big as it could get … any cost

31 Frauds February 17, 2013 at 8:19 PM

I experienced a panhandler at the same In & Out a few days ago. As I was leaving the restaurant with my burger, there was an African American man sitting on the cement against the wall, just outside the restaurant, looking like he was homeless, but I was suspicious. He had asked two elderly women if they could help him with some $$ to get a burger. They got their wallets out and gave him some money and said “so you’re going to get a burger” and he replied “yes, I’m going to do that now”. Well, I walked to my car and ate my burger in my car, while watching him hit up one person after another. At no time did he go in for his burger. If I were approached, and thought he really needed food, I may offer to buy him/her some food, but would never just hand over money. More than likely it would go to alcohol or drugs.

32 Anonymous February 17, 2013 at 8:26 PM

Radome task,as usual ,makes the case against further cuts in mental health programs.

33 Wondering February 17, 2013 at 8:27 PM

Pathetic….. and I’m talking about all these comments! People calling others fat and suggesting that we do not have the right to eat in our cars… Please. These people are bums plain and simple they think they can make it begging people like us for our hard earned money. NEVER will I give these people a dime of my money, its pathetic and they need to get a real job…. stinking bums.

34 Mar February 17, 2013 at 8:27 PM

They seem to do this at the target stores and Post offices.there is one that has a child in a stroller.She makes you think their poor Not Scamers

35 The brat February 17, 2013 at 8:29 PM

They’re gypsies. They used to be at nations on contra Costa Blvd. I bought her and her daughter burgers since they were hungry. When I brought it out they refused to take it. I give up in people wanting money. I really do.

36 anonymous February 17, 2013 at 8:31 PM

That’s what they are. Absolute, con artist, gypsy frauds!

I REFUSE TO SHOP at any location that allows these FRAUDS to roam their parking lots and hassle their customers. It is disrespectful to the people that wish to shop in these retail establishments.

If they really needed food, they can visit a member agency of the Food Bank of Contra Costa. There are FREE FOOD spots all over the County:

37 Vitamin J February 17, 2013 at 8:37 PM

Been watching the neighborhood going rapidly down hill (more so than with just the usual bunch who go to Target). The PH City Council has no plans to run these people off. I’ve watched shift changes happen with the panhandlers who stand on the meridians begging for change from drivers. The only solution is to not give them money.

“Ironic, isn’t it Smithers? This anonymous clan of slack-jawed troglodytes has cost me the election, and yet if I were to have them killed, I would be the one to go to jail. That’s democracy for you.” –Mr. Burns

38 rochelle February 17, 2013 at 8:38 PM

@frauds i think i experienced the same with this african american guy, since i live up in martinez he saw me come out of chase, and he asked me if i can give him like $2 to buy him a breakfast sandwich at Mc Donalds, Luckily though i can barely hear him as I was about to walk back home, i looked at his appearance closely. He looked like he can afford to buy his own breakfast sandwich since he had a pretty expensive leather jacket on and was riding his bike and he had a blue backpack on. So I told him “Nope, don’t have any money to spare.” when i did have $! I knew he was going to try to scam me because he was asking other people that were in the parking lot of chase & luckys. I can see in his pocket an indication of a wallet. So he can buy his own food!!! I never trust those people!! they will end up using the $ for drugs/alcohol!

39 anonanonagain February 17, 2013 at 8:57 PM

I’d be furious and would tell the person that what they are doing to and with their children is the most shameful,lowly thing in the world to do!! Why don’t the authorities take their children away?? These people are USING their children to beg for money, and this is despicable. Child slavery going on right before people’s eyes!!!!!!!

40 Alex February 17, 2013 at 9:16 PM

There’s one by food max and chillis in concord. She claims she needs it for her insulin. And her other story is she needs to feed her kids.

I remember she said she needed money for food to take her insulin. So we offered her out food we didn’t finish. And she cursed us out and demanded money. So we said f off

41 Em Dubya February 17, 2013 at 9:25 PM

Dr Jellyfinger

Funny you mention it. I own the old Talbot estate in a quiet corner at the base of Mt Diablo. At times a gypsy caravan sets up a fair in a remote part of my property. The last time it happened, I was bitten by a coyote while fetching my mail by full moon. Ever since, I wake up in shredded clothes and feel tormented each morning after a full moon. BTW – any tips on where in Claycord can I buy whole sides of raw beef?

42 Shannon February 17, 2013 at 9:29 PM

The lady and children were at Trader Joes on Treat and Oak Grove awhile back . Sitting with her children with a sign about needing money. I feel so sorry for those children being used that way. Child Protective services should step in. You see this a lot in Europe and my guess is that they are from Europe. Lived here my whole life. Never saw this type of thing until about 20 years ago and it has steadily increased with time.

43 anon February 17, 2013 at 10:34 PM

1. dont ask me for money. because i’m a woman they think i’m an easy sucker.
2 i need money too. my child support is 25 years behind.
3. i’m having my own crisis now, i’m not able to consider yours.
4. what’s your name? i’ll call someone to help you. as in police.
pick one. if they truly were needy and on the up and up theres programs for them.
living in bay point if was a regular encounter going to safeway. i had a plan w. my daughter. if someone was coming for money i’d fly into a tirade over something at my daughter. it was easy i just would become my german mother; it always worked. my daughter enjoyed it as well.
then there was the time her and i were sitting in the car easting, i saw in the side mirror that one was approaching from behind. when he got about a foot close to the car i started it and drove to another spot. must park so that you can drive forward. curses foiled again.

44 Scoobie February 17, 2013 at 10:48 PM

@co-co-res I’ve seen the same ladies and kids go up and down BART trains holding signs saying they have 3 kids no job no home. They stand over people until they’re given something. I usually put my sunglasses and bitchface on so they avoid me. I’m like geez get a job don’t pop the babies out but of course they’re just scammers.

45 anon February 17, 2013 at 10:49 PM

i go to dvc and have seen these people many times. the first time i saw them it was the man and two small kids. as we drove by he made a hand gesture (putting his fingers together up to his mouth) showing that he was starving. i had no cash on me and felt really bad all through class. i actually went back after school to see if they were still there. i was going to get them a target gift card, but they were gone. after that i started noticing them there every morning. now i just feel so stupid that i had actually felt sorry for the “dad that couldn’t provide for his kids” . i hope cps takes the poor kids!

46 Elwood February 17, 2013 at 10:54 PM

Unfortunately, SCOTUS has ruled that begging is a form of free speech.

They’ve also ruled that everyone (including beggars of course) must have access to public areas like shopping centers.

So, enjoy and thank SCOTUS!

47 ItsJelly February 17, 2013 at 11:10 PM

A day before xmas. I was coming out of Target and this lady was sitting outside with her daughter who must of been about two or three. She was holding a sign that read “Need money for food, rent, and clothes” I have a two year old myself and this just broke my heart as a mother to see someone really have the guts to take their child with them. Like if you’re really in that much need of assistance, there are local homeless shelters especially with a child, I am sure she would’ve gotten the help she needed. Point being, it’s just sad, very sad to see what people do to their children. I reported this lady to child services.

48 Bob February 17, 2013 at 11:11 PM

If you see her spank her child you can call the police.

49 A February 17, 2013 at 11:15 PM

Loitering call the police

50 derriere February 17, 2013 at 11:16 PM

If none ever gave money they would give up and go away.
DO NOT GIVE MONEY! It’s child abuse

51 ptpauly February 17, 2013 at 11:30 PM

Pull out your phone or a camera and start to take a picture and watch how fast they will disappear. they hate to have their picture taken. they will leave on the spot. They are just professional bums raising professional bums. All they want is money.

52 CatWoman February 17, 2013 at 11:38 PM

I think if she continued to beg and beg–you would break down and give her money. Happens all the time. Good Lord!

53 anon February 17, 2013 at 11:39 PM

Very, very sad to see the way this group uses and abuses their children, scams the public and scams Social Security. I felt sorry for them and tried to help and ended up being used. So, beware of the scammers and help those who are truly having a difficult time through the groups like Salvation Army and local churches that know how to help those who are truly in need.

54 Dre dog February 18, 2013 at 5:27 AM


55 Don't Censor Me Bro February 18, 2013 at 6:29 AM


56 Don't Censor Me Bro February 18, 2013 at 6:31 AM

@E #46

time, place manner…

57 Parsnip February 18, 2013 at 6:56 AM

@Rochelle #38 — Lemme guess. Village Oaks Shopping Center. That’s been his turf (primarily over by Baskin Robbins leading to the Morello Ave exit) for over a year. He works (panhandles) that area weekends only.

ptpauly #51 gave a good suggestion. Take their photos.

58 Stealthy Mama February 18, 2013 at 7:01 AM

I’ve seen that small family hanging out there few to several times before. Just I drive past the Toys R Us…after having went to the In -N- Out Drive-Thru to get food…I see a mother & daughter standing there on the sidewalk facing Chilpancingo. The mom held a cardboard sign that says “We are Hungry!”. I don’t think they’re hungry; I just think they want money. While I’m waiting to drive onto the Chilpancingo Pkwy from the parking lot, the mother keeps staring at me and my daughter. Yeah…my daughter was w/ me in the car. I told my daughter not look at those people or stare back at them b/c “if you make eye contact, they’ll walk up to us & bother the crap out of us for money”.

59 frustrated! February 18, 2013 at 7:40 AM

I, too, am sick of the beggars that are probably bringing in much more than I do every month! I used to buy fast-food gift cards to hand them (a suggestion from a friend who did the same thing). Not any more! Now I just make sure I donate to Salvation Army and other organizations that help the truely needy. Want to make sure my $$ is really making a difference!

60 @elwood February 18, 2013 at 7:46 AM

Re-read my post,although they could be
Hoody wearing, homeless, liberal,
entitled, Gypsies. They are the worst.
These people’s use of children to
beg is abhorrent to me, just as it does
when I see children used to push
a political point. But never insult
them going into a store, your car
is unguarded , say you will get them
on your way out, then you can say,
Sorry that’s it as you hand them .17 cents
and go on your way. Or as a friend of mine
did, he handed them a few good copies
of one dollar bills,and then he llaughed
as he saw the look on their faces as
he drove away. But he was a mean guy
anyway. Be safe out there Claycordians.

61 NRA #1 fan and member February 18, 2013 at 7:55 AM

I’m looking for a handout too, all this patrolling of Claycord on my own dime is hurting my huge monthly pension! It’s great to be retired!

62 Just saying February 18, 2013 at 7:57 AM

Children should not be used to
Panhandle, or to sell cookies outside
of a store, or door to door chocolate
bars for schools, Perhaps we should all
Think about how Children are used in
various ways everyday. Maybe if these
“Gypsies” dressed them up in a cute
little uniform, they might be less

63 anonomom February 18, 2013 at 8:04 AM


64 claycord momma February 18, 2013 at 8:12 AM

Our neighbors always dress like they are homeless. The 3 kids are home schooled. Can I have the description of these panhandlers please? What nationality are they?

65 Palermo February 18, 2013 at 8:15 AM

@Dr. Jellyfinger:

I’m Sicilian, I wish a gypsy would …

I can give them the malocchio right back

All kidding aside, isn’t it illegal to use your kids in begging schemes? I seem to remember some people got in trouble in SF for that (in the Tenderloin there was a woman with a stroller and little kids, some days the same kids were with different women, same scam). If we call the non emergency police number, wonder if they would send somebody out

66 Anon2 February 18, 2013 at 8:27 AM

I suppose the mother is “home-schooling” her child and that’s why the school district isn’t charging them with truancy. Some agency needs to investigate and find out why that child isn’t in school.

67 Ricardoh February 18, 2013 at 9:00 AM

Nothing can look as pathetic as a gypsy. I always take out my cell phone and tell them I am calling the police. These people can give you some weird looks when you do that so be prepared. Just give them the weird look back.

68 Parsnip February 18, 2013 at 9:01 AM

#61 — Give it up. This pretended “patrolling” you do. Obviously it’s futile. You never have been recognized for catching anyone or interfering with attempted robbery (except in your own little world). Throw your donated “gas” to the toilet. Put your UI benefits to good use.

69 Bishop Estates February 18, 2013 at 12:43 PM

Panhandling/begging has becaome a big business. I work in Walnut Creek and watch everyday this “team” of people who work 3 corners near Olympic off ramps.

It pisses me off that these people are preying on those of us who would like to help people truly in need. But know I am starting to turn a blind eye because you don’t know if the one you are “helping” is actually making more money than I am working 8-5 everyday.

70 Lorelei February 18, 2013 at 12:54 PM

I guess Toys R Us, Target and In ‘n Out don’t care enough about their business to hire security to keep these people off their private property. I know that I’M not going to shop over there after reading these comments.

71 Howard K. Mullins III February 18, 2013 at 1:31 PM

We need to be tolerant of these people. At least that is what many in society believe today.

I am guessing that is why these scummy panhandlers can get away with being aggressive and threatening.

My tolerance is incredibly limited when it comes to aggressive beggars and panhandlers, and when children are used. Guess I am not a good citizen in todays society.

72 Sad situation February 18, 2013 at 2:01 PM

It is uncomfortable to be asked for money by a panhandler. I feel guilty about saying no. The panhandlers look like they are down and out.
So we know that a lot of them are fakers and that burns. But I have also read and seen on the news about human trafficking. Could it be that these women are here against their will? Could they have a pimp that requires them to bring him money or face the consequences? If they are not from here their kids wouldnt be in school. If you want to give and you can give, do it. If you don’t want to, don’t. What happens after your money leaves your hands (whether it be for a panhandler or a politician or any fundraiser) – you’ll never know.

If you give from your heart, did you do a good thing or a bad thing?

73 a mothers heart February 18, 2013 at 2:02 PM

There is security at toys r us and target. They tend to be preoccupied with the people actually stealing from the stores….the woman ay chilpancingo stands on the sidewalk, not it the lot. You fail to mention in n out….the panhandling increased tenfold, as well as the trash all over the parking lot, since they opened their doors…..

74 a mothers heart February 18, 2013 at 2:05 PM

Ok, sorry, did just see in n out included….perhaps the employees standing there taking orders should ask the panhandlers to leave..or call the security guy out..

75 Bishop Estates February 18, 2013 at 3:07 PM

#62 are you comparing what these “Gypsies” do to Girlscouts, School groups etc…??? In no way are they even close.

76 Just a Concordian February 18, 2013 at 3:26 PM

So, if someone robbed that van and its passengers, would it be considered a crime? Would we as a society encourage the thief, because they did us a favor by taking out of commission for a day or two a major public nuisance that are the panhandlers? Or would we as a society condemn the act of thievery though it happened to people we consider pests and on occasion, thieves?

77 Mary February 18, 2013 at 5:44 PM


Unfortunately the Liberal Party has raised a generation of people that they are entitled to everything. There are people who don’t want to work since we taxpayers are forced to help them out. Mind you, There are some who simply had a run of bad luck and those are who, we should help. Liberals enjoy practicing POLITICAL PEDOPHILIA – you know ‘FOR THE CHILDREN” and they have a group of children a props in the background. Well these folks are no different, they prop their kids to get sympathy to give them money. Using children is a great prop to garner sympathy and to give out handouts. That is why I like to go to Target or any other shopping early in the morning and not have to deal with traffic nor bums.

78 Bezow February 18, 2013 at 8:13 PM

Mace em

79 Asking for change.... February 18, 2013 at 10:39 PM

When someone asks me for “change”, I put my hand on my heart and say to them…….”change comes from within”. That’s what they don’t want to hear, but that’s what they get. If they are hungry, there are shelters, churches, food bank, etc. where they can get a meal.

80 Parsnip February 19, 2013 at 7:33 AM

@Asking for change…. — Funny you should mention “change.” I have almost a parallel to your definition.

I will never forget this homeless “writer” that a local paper gave an allowance to to write a monthly column on the perils she faced. For about six freaking years!

Did the woman write about her progress? No. It was nothing but a monthly, “woe is me, the sun is falling, the rain is heavy, it is difficult for me to walk, I must carry my bags,” blah-blah-blah.

All she ever wrote was how she was being victimized and discriminated against, and not one blessed thing that she was doing about it. Her goal was to appear martyred.

I spent a weekend compiling a notebook for her of contacts to help her get on her feet, actions to take, agencies that would assist, etc. Her response? “Oh, this is great. I will …………read………………………………it. Later.” She trashed it somewhere.

I asked her editor if he really knew what he thought he knew about her, and what changes he saw over the six year period.

Her “column” was struck from the paper about a month later.

81 The Mamba February 19, 2013 at 8:47 AM

I don’t understand why anyone would pay people like that not to work, it only incentives them to continue doing so.

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