From Texas to Ohio to Kentucky, bogus beggar Gary Thompson has showed no shame in scamming kind-hearted strangers out of their money while turning a decent-sized profit. Thompson, who fakes being both physically and mentally handicapped to draw sympathy from Good Samaritans, says he pulls in upward of $100,000 a year off panhandling.
WAVE3’s John Boel finally confronted Thompson after watching him scam people all around down Louisville. Although he approaches people in a wheelchair, Boel recorded video of Thompson walking around and even trading a white substance that appeared to be drugs before disappearing. When Boel finally made contact with the con artist he introduced himself as Gary Davis and said he had been confined to a wheelchair after he was hit by a truck at the age of 9.
"Please help, fell out of my wheelchair today, all my coins, somebody take it. Need bus fare get back home. Hit by truck 9-year-old, but I no hurt that bad, left side. Gary Davis, nice to meet you," Thompson told Boel in his slurred voice while being recorded on a hidden camera. That was when Boel pulled out a more noticeable camera and informed Thompson that he was wise to his act.
"You're really Gary Thompson. My name is John Boel with WAVE, been watching you. You're the bogus beggar guy who makes $100,000 a year right? Yeah you are, got a degree in speech pathology, able to change your voice. I've seen all the stories on you," Boel explained. Thompson vehemently denied his part in any type of scam, but Boel says after turning off both cameras, he gave the reporter a quick wink and a smile.
Thompson, who claims to have a degree in speech pathology that he uses to perfect his phony speech impediment, has already been arrested at least nine times in the state of Kentucky. He started his fraudulent career back in Austin, Texas, where he received a $2.5 million settlement from Honda following a car crash — money that he quickly blew through, leaving him in search of new way to make money.