Crime

Panhandler attacks after driver refuses to give him money, cops say

When a driver refused to give money to a 56-year-old panhandlee, the panhandler followed him into a nearby store, harassed him and eventually shoved him, according to the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office.

Deputies say the victim encountered Duane Steele, who was panhandling at the intersection of US 301 and Erie Road in Parrish, on Sept. 14. Steele asked a driver for money and was refused. The victim drove away but encountered Steele again on his way back, at which time Steele asked the driver if he was going to, “give him anything this time,” according to the arrest report.

The driver told him he was not going to give him anything and drove to a nearby convenience store where Steele followed him, deputies say.

According to the report, Steele waited for the victim to leave the store and confronted him, bumping into him several times and, “trying to pick a fight with him.”

Deputies say Steele continued to bump into the victim and then shoved him. According to the report, witnesses attempted to intervene, but Steele continued to harass the victim so the witnesses called 911.

According to the report, Steele was “visibly intoxicated, wobbly on his feet, mumbling, slurring his speech and using offensive language.”

Steele was arrested on a misdemeanor battery charge and according to jail records, posted bond the following day and was released.

Breaking News/Real Time Reporter Mark Young began his career in 1996 and has been with the Bradenton Herald since 2014. He has won more than a dozen awards over the years, including the coveted Lucy Morgan Award for In-Depth Reporting from the Florida Press Club and for beat reporting from the Society for Professional Journalists to name a few. His reporting experience is as diverse as the communities he covers.
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