Police offer tips for handling parking lot panhandlers
Soliciting is on the rise in multiple sites in Fargo.
FARGO — Several people in the metro have recently been approached at night by people asking for gas money while nowhere near a gas station.
It's primarily happening along the 13th Avenue corridor, mostly taking place in store parking lots.
According to the Fargo Police Department, this is actually called panhandling in Fargo city ordinance.
People looking for some pay go to places like Target, Hobby Lobby or other populated places to ask people for money.
Fargo Police say this has happened to them as well, mostly at night. It’s usually not called in, but police say a person's best bet is to not escalate what could be a sketchy situation.
"I was approached in a dark parking lot, and they asked me for money for gas and I told them that I wasn't going to give them money, that there are a lot of different places they could go, a lot of charities in town and churches and other places that oftentimes will do that," said Fargo Police Lt. Bill Ahlfeldt.
Another piece of info from police if a panhandler harasses you is to let the property owner know, and call the police.
Although these incidents are rarely reported, panhandling is a $50 ticket in Fargo. If it's aggressive panhandling, the fine can be as high as $500.
"Anybody who represents the mall could go out and say, 'Listen, you're trying to take money from our asking for money from our customers. We don't appreciate that we're gonna ask you to leave,' and they would need to leave if they didn't do more than likely call us. And there would be a trespassing issue if they didn't leave." Ahlfeldt said.