ST. LOUIS – A Fox Files investigation into families of panhandlers ends with the discovery of stolen checks from a west county church.
Fox 2/KPLR 11 followed a man, woman, and small child panhandling in Jefferson County months ago. They went to several locations asking for money. We tracked them to an apartment in St. Ann.
While working on our story, we observed police pulling two vans over with family members from the same apartment. Police say 15 people were living in the apartment illegally because they didn’t have occupancy permits. As they investigated further, they found $30,000 in stolen checks from Bonhomme Presbyterian Church in Chesterfield.
Police say the checks had been stolen just a couple of hours before the arrests were made. Inside the apartment, police found fake IDs, Social Security cards, temporary license plate tags, and multiple panhandling signs.
At present, no one is officially charged. Police are working with ICE, the postal inspector’s office, and prosecutors to determine what charges will be filed.
Police and homeless advocates recommend not giving money to panhandlers. There are numerous organizations where you can donate to help the needy.
Organizations that provide services to the homeless:
- St. Patrick Center
- Peter and Paul Community Services
- Covenant House
- Homeless Shelter Directory
- Metro St. Louis Coalition for the Homeless