1. A Mysterious Pregnant Panhandler
Outside a big shopping mall in San Diego, people would often see a pregnant beggar standing in the burning sun with a sign pleading for help. Usually, she was alone. Sometimes, her little son or her husband would keep her company. Shoppers felt sorry for her and often gave her food or change. But little did they know that behind her sad face was a dark secret related to the whole society…
2. The Secret Revealer
Her secret was revealed thanks to a local named Melissa Smith. Every time Melissa went shopping, she would see the pregnant woman begging at the same spot. But one day, as she was putting her bags into her car, she happened to see the beggar and her boy leaving. However, as she watched, she noticed something odd.
3. A Strange Sight
A Mercedes Benz raced towards the begging pair and stopped right beside them. At that moment, tons of questions flashed through Melissa’s head. Who was the driver? Was the beggar in trouble? Confused and worried, Melissa decided to watch for a few more minutes.
4. Man’s Identity Revealed
It turned out that the driver was the beggar’s partner! The couple had a car! And it was a luxury, almost brand new Mercedes Benz! How could this be true? Before Melissa could overcome her shock, the woman and her boy had already got into the car and left. Without thinking, Melissa jumped into her car and followed them.
5. Mercedes Benz Beggars
When Melissa caught up with them, she found they were counting the money, laughing. She was so angry that she didn’t want to let them get away with this. She knew she had to notify the public and decided to record everything on her phone. But Melissa had no idea what else she was about to reveal.
6. Caught In The Act
Finally, the couple stopped in front of another shopping center. Then, the woman and her boy got out of the car and started doing their routine. Everything seemed perfectly planned out. Within 5 minutes, she was getting money from unsuspecting shoppers. Melissa was so mad at the pair that she began taking pictures of them. However, the couple spotted Melissa and were shocked and enraged. The situation began to turn violent.
"Next thing I know, she picked up this big boulder," Melissa said, "I don’t know if pregnant people can do that, but it was pretty big over her head and coming at me with this rock." Luckily, one passer-by noticed the terrifying scene and immediately called 911. This prompted the couple to grab the boy and run away before they could hurt Melissa. However, Melissa wasn’t willing to let them get away that easily.
8. Exposing The Three Frauds Online
Melissa was determined to reveal their deception. She shared all the photos and videos online and contacted the local news station. They managed to run the plates from the car. It turned out that the car was registered to a lady living in the Encinitas Heights Apartments. Immediately, the reporters at the news station rushed to the address. However, they couldn’t believe what they found next.
9. Empty, Luxury House
The residents of the apartment paid a monthly rent of $2500! The beggars lived in such a luxurious house! However, after knocking at the door several times, nobody answered. The reporters started asking around about the residents of this apartment. They learned that the couple living here had left recently, without any notice. And, this was just the beginning of the story about the fake panhandlers.
10. Going Viral
As the story starting spreading quickly on the Internet, more and more reporters began contacting Melissa for further information and even shared the story themselves. The local residents were shocked to learn that someone would use a kid and pregnancy to pray on the sympathy of others. Meanwhile, they also helped to look for the awful scammers. A few days later, a witness offered an important clue that made the reporters rush to the scene.
11. Someone Spotted The Beggar
The witness, Rebecca, heard about the story while driving to one shopping mall. There, she recognized the beggar from Melissa’s videos and immediately left a comment on Melissa’s post with a photo as proof. The new clue made Emily Valdez, who was working for the local news station, storm to the shopping mall with her team. This time, they wouldn’t let the beggar slip away.
12. Finding The Panhandler
Valdez and her team searched for the woman in the shopping center carefully. They did come across several pregnant ladies but none of them was the beggar in question. Naturally, they expanded their search. Two days later, they managed to find the woman in another shopping center. However, they were shocked the moment they spotted her.
13. Feigning Innocence
There was no baby bump, and the woman was holding a baby! Had they found the wrong person? Or had the woman had just given birth? Valdez approached her and showed her Melissa’s video. "Is this you, begging?" Valdez asked as her team was recording everything. The woman simply answered, "No speak English." Then Valdez saw that she also had a little boy with her. He was exactly the boy from Melissa’s photos! But as Valdez tried to ask more questions, her partner showed up.
14. Fleeing Again
"Keeping the camera rolling!" Valdez cried. The man tried to keep the reporters away from his family, but they wouldn’t give up. He then said something in a foreign language to Valdez, but at the same time mumbled something to the woman in another foreign language. Valdez couldn’t understand a word that he’d said. Then all of a sudden, the couple made a hurried exit along with their kids. The determined team chased the family. They didn’t stop until the family piled into a minivan. Once again, they fled.
Valdez ran facial recognition on the woman from Melissa’s video and the woman she had met. They were an 80% match! However, she thought something was off with the man. What languages was he speaking? And was he trying to hide something else? The man’s strange reaction made Valdez think there was more to uncover. And, her guess was right!
16. Finding More Clues
Valdez downloaded the footage and listened to the words over and over again. She figured out that the man was speaking to her in Spanish, but she couldn’t identify the language he was speaking to his partner. Luckily she was able to receive help from an expert.
17. The Story May Be More Sinister Than It Seemed
Leslie Albright, a retired detective from the San Diego Police Department, came across Valdez’s short interview with the begging couple. She recognized that the man was speaking Romani. This led her to assume that the couple might be tied to an organized crime ring that she’d been investigating for years. The group started their ring right after their illegal entry into the United States. The man and woman from the footage seemed more like co-workers than a couple. And even the pregnancy was probably a scam! Still, there was more to this story...
18. Terrible Offenders
Leslie said that the authorities had been trying to catch the perpetrators, but had never succeeded. They were smart enough not to stay in one spot for too long. If they noticed someone was on to their act, they would pack their stuff and move to another place. Unsurprisingly, the beggars in this story had done the same thing. Leslie shared all this with Valdez. But just when everything seemed to have hit a brick wall, an anonymous man risked his life to reveal some key information.
19. Guesses Confirmed
This unknown man shared something on Reddit, "I had a friend of a friend tell me that they knew them and that they’re just a hustling pair of Con Artists whose families conned their way into the country." He even said that the woman was forced to do all these things. Fearing for his safety, the man deleted his profile shortly after sharing this information. After this, more and more dark secrets started surfacing...
20. Terrible Truth Revealed
It turned out that the woman would often stuff her clothes with foam and pretend to be pregnant. Thanks to the fake belly, she could earn more than $500 each day. Men in the crime rings promised desperate women shelter and food in exchange for work. The women were dispatched every morning and recalled in the evening. Of course, the money wasn’t distributed fairly. Only those who ran everything led lavish lifestyles. So, if you came upon such beggars, what would you do? The unknown man gave some advice before removing all his information:
21. Advice From The Anonymous Man
"They might be up and trying this scam again or it might be another woman, either way, call the cops on them, making sure to tell the dispatch that they’re "the BMW scammers" so they’re identified and the state can start the proper deportation proceedings against them. Don’t help any of them or give money to any of the beggars you might see." And, let’s not forget that Leslie’s former team is still working to catch the ringleaders of the crime gangs. But, one question remains, what if the police can’t catch them?