IRVINE (CBSLA.com) — A Los Angeles woman has been arrested in what officials called “aggressive” panhandling in Irvine.
She has been identified as Monae Antionette Lloyd, 26.
Lloyd was cited for aggressive panhandling after demanding money from a gas station patron who turned out to be an off-duty officer.
About 5:20 p.m. Wednesday, the off-duty officer was fueling her own car at a gas station when Lloyd allegedly approached.
The suspect demanded money, she said, for gas. When contacted by responding officers, Lloyd allegedly provided a false name.
The suspect is known to be part of a panhandling crew consisting of females from Los Angeles who frequent Orange County gas stations and demand money from patrons. This crew is known to visit multiple locations in a day.
Authorities said the “aggressive” behavior includes becoming loud and verbal, intimidation tactics, standing extremely close to patrons and blocking people’s paths.
KCAL9’s Rachel Kim on Friday spoke to motorists who were worried about the aggression.
Annie Tran was gassing up to drive to her parents’ house for the weekend. She’s now more cautious after hearing about panhandlers targeting people at the pump.
“I just moved here; this is something I have to worry about when I come to the gas station,” said Tran.
“They think they can dash in, threaten somebody, take cash because you’ve got your wallet out to pay for your gas so they think, oh, this is a great opportunity,” sayd Hollie Lemkin, an Irvine resident.
Paul Annison of Irvine isn’t sure he’s run into this particular crew but has been hit up for money.
“Usually, it was a girl,” Annison says. “and usually saying ‘I need gas, I’m outta gas.’ ”
Police told Kim they hope to alert residents and stop the crew before their behavior escalates.
Anyone contacted by panhandlers who exhibit aggressive or intentionally intimidating behavior is asked to contact the Irvine Police Department by calling (949) 724-7000.