Lexington fire official warns residents about panhandler's scam

A sob story used by a panhandler to solicit donations has caught the attention of the Lexington Division of Fire.

Battalion Chief Joe Best issued a public service announcement Thursday warning residents to be wary of anyone asking for money because their home burned down recently.

In the last few months, firefighters have received reports of a man saying he needed financial help because his house burned down "over off Harrodsburg Road last night."

Those reports are false, according to the statement.

When a home is damaged or destroyed by fire, the occupants are offered food, clothing and shelter by the Red Cross or a similar organization, the announcement said.

"There simply would be no need to begin asking for help a few hours after a home was destroyed or damaged by fire," it said.

The panhandler is not the same man who made headlines earlier this year for faking a mental handicap to solicit donations, Best said.