Married Couple Self-Employed as Panhandlers

Modesto, CA– Modesto Police Officers investigate self-proclaimed Romanian Gypsies who make begging their profession.

On January 3, 2014 at about 4:45 PM, Officers from the Crime Reduction Team followed up on several complaints of panhandlers in the parking lot of 3801 Pelandale Av.  When officers arrived, they observed 27-year-old Marian Hornea holding a sign asking for help.  Standing nearby was 25-year-old Elena Hornea with the couple’s two children.  

When the Sacramento couple was contacted they told officers they use an organized list of locations in various cities throughout the Central Valley to panhandle for their family’s income.  Hornea said he uses his 5 and 7-year-old children to gain more sympathy from those passing by.  Found in the couple’s possession were two money transfer receipts where they sent $2,000 and $1,700 to relatives in Romania. 

In the two hours they were set-up at the Pelandale Ave location, the couple was given $365.89 in cash, as well as several gift cards to nearby restaurants.  This visit makes it approximately 10 times the family has been at this location in Modesto. 

Both Marian and Elena Hornea were cited and released for panhandling.

The Modesto Police Department encourages you to please choose another way to give.  Many panhandlers in Modesto are struggling with substance abuse and are not homeless, while others may simply mislead you to give. Know where your money goes by donating to Modesto organizations that provide assistance, meals and shelter. 

If you have any information regarding criminal activity please call Crime Stoppers at (209) 521-4636. Callers to Crime Stoppers can remain anonymous and may be eligible for a cash reward. Tipsters can also text information to Crime Stoppers by sending a text message to 274637.  Just type “TIP704” along with your message.