Worcester panhandlers arrested over weekend

posted by Mike on March 20th, 2013

Two arrests this weekend, a couple of others earlier last week. Three men begging while standing in traffic, another begging from people entering or leaving a store. One of these also involves a trespassing charge, two others a disorderly conduct charge. (The fourth is a little confusing on that point.) I’m not sure if there would always be a “disorderly conduct” thrown in for arrests like these, or whether standing in traffic is itself disorderly conduct.

Telegram & Gazette: Police start arresting panhandlers

Robert A. Mele, 34, who lists his address as 701 Main St., the homeless shelter, was arraigned Monday in Central District Court for trespassing and violating the aggressive panhandling ordinance after he was found standing on the off-ramp to Interstate 290 eastbound in the Belmont Street area Saturday.


Michael P. Gorham, 51, of 11 Ellsworth St., Apt. 4, was arrested Sunday — which happened to be his birthday — for disorderly conduct and violating the aggressive panhandling ordinance.

Police said he was aggressively panhandling on Chandler Street and at first was told to leave. Officers saw him again walking in and out of traffic and arrested him. He was arraigned Monday and ordered held on $500 cash bail.

Andrew E. Gemme, no relation to the city’s police chief, was arrested twice within a few days for allegedly violating the ordinance.

Mr. Gemme, 33, of 37 Central Tree, Rutland, was arrested on March 9 after he was allegedly asking people for money near the Shaw’s Supermarket on Stafford Street. He allegedly approached customers leaving the supermarket as well, police said in court statements.

“In the days leading up to this incident police had encountered Gemme conducting this aggressive form of panhandling on several occasions in this area,” police wrote in a statement. “On more than one occasion Gemme was advised of the Worcester city ordinance prohibiting such behavior. Gemme was warned by police to cease his behavior.”

On March 14, Mr. Gemme was arrested again for violating the panhandling ordinance. Police said he was going in and out of store parking lots on Park Avenue. He was arraigned in court the same day and held on $500 cash bail. In another recent police statement involving Mr. Gemme’s arrest for disorderly conduct, officers noted Mr. Gemme has a heroin addiction and needs help.

Adam C. Lavalle allegedly had crack cocaine and heroin on him during his arrest on March 14, police reports show. The 29-year-old, who lists his home as 765 Main St., was arrested on charges of heroin possession, cocaine possession, disorderly conduct and violating the panhandling ordinance.

Police said he was walking in and out of traffic on Lincoln Street and was almost hit by a car. Holding a “homeless, please help” sign, Mr. Lavalle was warned by police in the past about panhandling. Police allegedly found a crack pipe with residue on him along with a small baggie of heroin. He was released on personal recognizance.

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