by Jesse and Amanda with Pike in the morning,posted Feb 27 2013 7:50AM
Gary Thompson was exposed as a bogus beggar by a Lexington news station, and video of his confrontation is causing outrage at the ruse he pulled.
Thompson was the target of an investigation by LEX 18, which found him in a wheelchair on a public street asking for money. Thompson spoke slowly, as if he were mentally disabled, and told a story about a motorcycle accident that left him disabled and his family rich.
That part was true, the news station said — his family won $2.5 million in a lawsuit from Honda of America. But his story about being mentally disabled —and his manner of speech — was all fake. In fact, he even has a degree in speech pathology that allowed him to mimic a mentally disabled person.
Gary Thompson later admitted to his ruse on camera, saying he brings in between $60,000 and $100,000 each year.
“I appreciate you guys busting me,” Thompson told a reporter as he laughed. “Yeah, I’m really good at it, really good. I clear about 100,000 dollars a year doing this.”
Thompson added, “I am normal, it just helps to be mentally handicapped.”
His story has gone viral, with posts featured on message board and Reddit.
Thompson had apparently swindled countless people out of money with the bogus begging act, and had been arrested several times for it. Police in Lexington held a press conference about it, and authorities in Austin, Texas, said he pulled the same stunt there.
After the segment aired, LEX 18 reported that it received calls from local residents saying he got them too.
Gary Thompson doesn’t have such a happy ending. He didn’t appear to be remorseful at all for his fake begging act — right after he was interviewed by LEX 18, Thompson resumed begging in his mentally disabled character, while still in front of the police station.