A homeless man arrested Monday for standing in a central Fresno median and approaching cars to ask for money was caught by police doing the exact same thing numerous times Wednesday, leading to yet another set of citations.
Fresno Police Lt. Joe Gomez said that Kevin Joy, 43, was warned early Wednesday morning by police to leave the center median at Clinton and Weber avenues in central Fresno. At 10:30 a.m., two traffic officers saw him in the median once again. They gave him another warning.
Around 11 a.m., they noticed Joy panhandling at the intersection once more. He was given a misdemeanor citation.
At 11:30 a.m., police received a call for someone panhandling at the intersection. Once again, it was Joy. Officers noticed that Joy was blocking traffic at times to ask drivers for money. He was arrested and booked into Fresno County Jail, where he will be given another citation and released.
Gomez said Joy admitted to officers that he knows he is not supposed to beg for money from cars in the median, but he claims he needs the money.
On Monday, Joy was arrested for the same offense. Police found more than $1,800 in his pockets.
$1,800The amount of money found in panhandler Kevin Joy’s pockets Monday
Gomez said that money was booked into evidence and would likely be sent to the court before it would be returned to Joy. Gomez wasn’t sure whether the money had been returned as of 2 p.m. Wednesday.
He was holding considerably less cash Wednesday – only about $14, Gomez said.
Joy has served several jail sentences in the past year for offenses related to his panhandling.
Larry Donaldson of the city attorney’s office has prosecuted Joy several times over the past year.
Joy was recently sentenced to a year in Fresno County Jail for various municipal violations. He served from July 9, 2015, to Jan. 5, when he was released for good behavior.
He was also in jail from Jan. 13, 2015, to April 6, 2015, for violating a restraining order. The owner of a liquor store at Clinton and Marks avenues took out the order on Joy after he continued to harass customers and staff members.
9 monthsThe amount of jail time Joy has served in the past year for various panhandling citations. The city attorney’s office will ask for a sentence of another year in jail.
The penalty for the municipal code Joy was cited most often for – loitering on a median without a permit – carries a penalty of up to six months in jail or a fine of up to $250. The second violation within six months increases the fine cap to $500 and a third raises it to $1,000.
Donaldson said he will ask the court for – and very likely get – another year-long jail term for Joy, who has been cited 13 times for various panhandling-related offenses since his Jan. 5 release.
In addition to his many panhandling violations, Joy has almost as many citations for failing to appear in court – a problem Donaldson said is common among chronic offenders.
Donaldson praised Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer for working with the city to amend the punishments for these offenses. In the past, offenders would be cited over and over without being jailed. Now, repeat violators are held in Fresno County Jail on beds reserved by the police station until their court dates.