Sharp Dressed Bum

Just wondering if any other downtowners have had experiences with a panhandler who I refer to as Sharp Dressed Bum.

Here’s his description: Black male, about 35 years old, 5’9″, 150 lbs, goatee. Unlike most bums, he dresses very well, in neatly pressed casual shirts and slacks, and sometimes a stylish hat. If you see him on the street, you’ll probably be inclined to think he’s on his way out to a club for a night on the town – until you talk to him and realize he’s a bum! He usually covers a circuit on the Main Street Mall and Second Street betweeen Madison and Peabody Place, from about 4 pm to midnight. Very recently, he has started riding a bike, and he had one for a while last summer too. I think he may live in the Exchange Building but I’m not sure of that.

His modus operandi is to come up and ask you for money, often so he can buy a pack of cigarettes. If you refuse, he’ll make some comment like, “You better walk away, I’ll kick your ass, motherfucker” and he may even make a motion like he’s going to come at you. I honestly don’t think he actually would – he just gets a kick out of intimidating people a little. Most of the bums won’t mess with the downtown locals once they figure out who they are, but Sharp Dressed Bum continues to harass people who have said no to him 25, 50, 100 times.

He’s been doing his thing downtown for at least two years, and he seems to be gearing up for the 2006 summer season this month. I have absolutely HAD IT with him. It irritates me to walk out the front door in the evening and know that there is almost a 100% chance I will have to deal with him as I head to the Saucer, the Tap Room and my other downtown hangouts. He’s a nuisance and it’s time for him to go away.

Just wondering if anyone else has had dealings with this guy. Due to Memphis’ weak panhandling laws, the cops really can’t do much unless they catch him in the act. Is there anything else we can do to make his life downtown a little more unpleasant, so that perhaps he’ll find something else to do? E-mail me if you have comments or suggestions.