Panhandling: A new way to get rich?

Joyce L. Miller

A woman accused of interfering with government operations after stopping an Eldon school bus looking for handouts for a mission vanished without a trace after being arrested and booked by police.

Eldon Police Chief Rodney Fair said the woman was taken into custody earlier this week.

There had been a group of people congregating at the main intersection in Eldon at the junction of Aurora Street and Highway 54/Route 52 for several days. The group approached motorists as they came through the stoplight asking for handouts.

Although there had been a number of complaints, there wasn’t much the city or the Missouri Highway Patrol could do until one of them broke the law.

That happened when one of the members of the group refused to get away from a school bus carrying early childhood students.

According to Eldon Superintendent C. J. Huff, the bus driver was approached by the panhandlers and, despite waving them back, they refused to get away from the bus. After the driver managed to safely clear the intersection, the incident was reported to the police.

Huff said it was not only inappropriate to approach a school bus, but it created a distraction.

Fair said when they released the woman, they told her a warrant would be issued for her arrest by the next morning. 

Within an hour of her release, the panhandlers apparently showed up at an Eldon car dealership, paid cash for a van, and when they found out it was too late to get temporary tags from the Miller County Department of Revenue office, they took off.

The panhandlers haven’t been seen since.

Contact this reporter at joycem@lakesunleader.com.