Branford police have arrested a panhandler who claims to be homeless after learning that he used donations to buy heroin, police said.
Lawrence Hayden, 63, of 183 North Main Apt. #8 in Branford, has become a fixture at Cedar and North Main streets, according to police.
Using signs stating that he and his dog are homeless and hungry, he preys on the kindness of drivers passing by to give him some money, according to police.
At 5 p.m. on Tuesday, police found Hayden with 10 bags of heroin, police said.
As Officers Marc Andrew and Dominic Eula interviewed him, he said he bought the heroin with money drivers gave him earlier in the day, according to a news release from police.
Police Chief Kevin Halloran is issuing a warning and urging drivers to be cautious of roadside solicitors.
“In many cases roadside solicitors are motivated by drugs and use deception to play on the hearts of our law abiding and generous citizen,” Halloran said in a statement. “Be cautious of those collecting funds for food and shelter as our community has a number of excellent social service program that provide those basic needs.”
Hayden was charged with possession of narcotics and released on a promise to appear in New Haven Court on Oct. 29 at 9 a.m.