BRANFORD, Conn. (WTNH)-- He said he was collecting money for social service program and charities. But Branford police say he was lying. They say the panhandler they arrested used the money to buy heroin.
Signs were found asking drivers to help him and his dog.
Folks described Lawrence Hayden, as a professional panhandler, even the gas station owner across the street from where he usually stands.
"He is a regular on the corner, absolutely," said Dean Evan, store owner.
It's busy there at Cedar and North Main and neighbors say like clock work Hayden brings his pit bull, spending hours collecting cash from sympathetic drivers.
"He ties his dog up, gives him a dish of water, and then he goes about sitting on the corner with his sign. People stop, it's amazing," said Pam Epps, Branford.
All those dollars aren't just to feed the dog rather police claim to feed a drug habit.
He was arrested Wednesday right on the corner with ten bags of heroin worth $100 in his pocket, admitting to cops he bought drugs with "donation dollars."
"He's defrauding people that feel sorry for him, ya know sitting there with an animal or saying they are both hungry and in need of food. That may be true, however he is choosing the option to go buy drugs," said Capt Geoff Morgan
Folks might be right to call him a professional panhandler walking around the abandoned house where he "works."
News 8 discovered a stack of signs, each with messages meant to make money.
"Signs are dogs save from death row, he has a sign pointed across this is not our home, please save our home," said Evan.
Hayden is free and can return to the corner because he is usually on private property and the town doesn't have a panhandling ordinance.
BRANFORD, Conn. (WTNH) -- A man posing to be homeless and soliciting donations along the road in Branford was arrested after allegedly using the money to buy drugs, police said.
According to police, Branford resident Lawrence Hayden would stand at the intersection of Cedar and North Main streets soliciting roadside donations by posting signs that he and his dog were homeless and hungry.
On Tuesday, 63-year-old Hayden was arrested after police say he was found in possession of 10 bags of heroin.
When officers interviewed Hayden, he told them that he purchased the heroin with funds that were given to him earlier in the day by motorists.
Hayden, of 183 North Main St. Apt. 8, Branford, was charged with possession of narcotics.
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