UPDATE: Self Proclaimed Panhandler Gary Thompson Speaks Out From Jail

By: Lindsey Yates Email
By: Lindsey Yates Email

Gary Thompson

Gary Thompson

UPDATE: Those at Happy Valley Inn in Glasgow say business is finally getting back to normal now that the man who claims to be the best panhandler in the world, Gary Thompson, is behind bars.

"I do not want him coming back here ever," says Paula Scott, Manager at the Happy Valley Inn.

Scott says while Thompson was staying at the Inn he would try to fall out of his wheelchair on purpose and threaten to sue, but after a similar incident last Saturday the threats escalated.

"He had threatened to kill me and my daughter," she says.

She said her next step was to file charges to make sure Thompson would not be able to return to the Inn.

Now he faces terroristic threatening but he claims those at the Inn are to blame, and that he never threatened anyone.

We asked if he thought the hotel was in the wrong?

"Yes ma'am, 100 percent my leg is re-fractured also and I'm going to get a lawsuit whenever I get out," says Thompson.

"I watched him flip it over on purpose. If it was an accident I wouldn't care to go help him," says Scott as she explains what happened last Saturday.

As for panhandling Thompson makes $68,000 to $100,000 a year, but says he has learned something from his time spent in jail.

"I won't do it anymore. I'm definitely done panhandling. Definitely."

However, Scott believes he will continue.

"To him it's fun, he laughs about it. When he goes out and panhandles he brags to other people about how much money he's made," she says.

After admitting his goal is to be the best at panhandling we asked him why?

"Because I was a multi-millionaire money is not a big thing to me," he replied.

For those at the Happy Valley Inn they are just happy business is back to normal.

"It's quiet once again at the Happy Valley Inn. Last night was the first night we got to hang a no vacancy sign up," says Scott.

When asked again if he would panhandle once being released Thompson says, he will only panhandle in Kentucky if someone else beats his record.
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He has received national attention and been dubbed the "Bogus Beggar" now panhandler Gary Thompson has been sitting behind bars for a week in the Barren County Detention Center after being convicted of disorderly conduct and criminal mischief.

Today Thompson spoke out about his panhandling, a forte he calls an addiction.

An incident at the Happy Valley inn in which Thompson broke a light fixture landed him behind bars, and his first words during our interview were, "I'm sorry."

"I plead guilty to it ma'am."

We asked if he believed he deserved to be in jail.

Yes, and for panhandling I was wrong I won't do that anymore."

Now Thompson, a fourteen time convicted felon, faces charges of terroristic threatening a charge the Inn filed after he threatened to kill the manager and her family.

"After he got in here and carried on like he did, it's pretty scary and I don't feel comfortable with him being around me," says Paula Scott, Manager of the Happy Valley Inn.

Thompson who says he earns up to $100 a year panhandling says it's an addiction.

"I got the record, that's what I'm saying, and I'm tired of doing it." says Thompson.

During the interview we asked, "So was your goal all along not necessarily to make money but to be the best at what you do?"

"Exactly," answers Thompson.

He opens up about the role he plays, one of his secrets to making money.

"I'm a mentally handicap person whenever I panhandle. I go into a total...I don't know. It's like an addiction. I change completely. No not a character I put on a character that lives inside of me. He's actually a part of me," says Thompson.

Towards the end of the interview he begins to change his mind about retiring.

"I was thinking about going to New Jersey, to the boardwalk," says Thompson.

"To panhandle?"

"Yes ma'am, just never around here again."

Thompson will be back in court on Monday where he plans to plead guilty to the terroristic threatening charges even though he believes he is innocent.

The Happy Valley Inn says they are finally getting business now that Thompson and his mother are no longer staying there.


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