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Threat proves costly for alleged Palmetto panhandler

Leo Fink
Leo Fink(Manatee County Sheriff's Office)
Published: Jul. 21, 2021 at 9:52 AM EDT
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PALMETTO, Fla. (WWSB) - A 79-year-old man being arrested in Palmetto Wednesday for allegedly panhandling got himself into more hot water, police say, when he threatened to blow up the police station.

Leo Fink was seen by police in the 800 block of 10th Street West, holding a sign facing motorists reading “GOD BLESS YOU! VIETNAM VET NEEDS HELP!”

An officer saw Fink walk into the roadway and accept money from a car waiting at a stop light, an arrest report said.

That’s illegal in Palmetto -- an ordinance forbids pedestrians from any physical interaction between a pedestrian and someone in a vehicle that’s not legally parked.

The report noted that Fink has been arrested before for panhandling, and had told officers he only engaged in panhandling for “weed” money.

While being arrested Tuesday, Fink yelled at officers, saying he was going to blow up the police department. In addition to panhandling, Fink was charged with threatening to discharge a destructive device.

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