Gary Thompson had supposedly fallen on hard times, which explains why he took to the streets of downtown Lexington, Ky., begging strangers for money. As he rolled around in his wheelchair, he slurred his words and wrung his hands as he asked passersby for contributions. Plenty of people felt sorry for Thompson, enough to net the man reportedly as much as $100,000 a year. But according to WLEX-TV, much of his act was a ruse.
Thompson apparently does rely on wheelchair, as he has difficulty walking, but his speech isn't slurred and his arms function fully, the NBC affiliate reports. After the Lexington station confronted the beggar, Thompson said he appreciated being caught. Laughing, he told the TV crew: "Yeah, I'm really good at it, really good. I clear about $100,000 a year doing this." Further, Thompson said, "I am normal, it just helps to be mentally handicapped."