Homeless woman arrested while panhandling in Spring Hill

A Homeless woman who is living in a truck in Homosassa faces charges of obstructing traffic after she was found panhandling Sunday at an intersection in Spring Hill, deputies said.

Brenda Monaye Duff, 40, was standing on the corner of U.S. 19 and Tarpon Boulevard around noon holding a sign that read “Homeless please help,” according to a release from the Hernando County Sheriff’s Office.

A deputy observed her collecting money from motorists by walking into the road and hindering the flow of traffic by obstructing vehicles, deputies said.

Duff told deputies she had been at the intersection for 15 minutes and collected $8, according to the report. She said she moved to Florida about a month ago and lives with her husband in a truck in Homosassa, the report said.

Friends told her that she could make good money panhandling in Hernando County and her husband dropped her off at the intersection, Duff told deputies.

Duff said it was her first time in the area but records showed she had been warned by a deputy about panhandling in the exact location on June 29, according to the report.

Duff was taken to the Hernando County Detention Center on a charge of obstructing a public street and was released Monday.

In 1998, Hernando enacted a ban on solicitation to keep people and property safe and to prevent delays and avoid traffic tie-ups.

Hernando’s ordinance proclaims it is unlawful for any person “to solicit for employment, business, contributions or sales of any kind or collect monies for the same, from the occupant of any vehicle traveling upon any street or highway.”

Law enforcement officers are empowered to enforce the ordinance and violators can be fined up to $500, sent to jail for up to 60 days or both.

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