WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - Grover White knows that the intersection of New Center and Market is the best of two worlds for panhandlers: long lights and lots of cars.
That gives him plenty of time to make it down the long row of vehicles, and it seems to be paying off.
When detectives confronted him it was obvious this wasn't the first time he had been warned. He was exasperated but eventually agreed to sit down with us to tell his story.
Of those flying a "Vet" sign, he was the only one carrying his DD 214 – documentation from the United States Department of Defense issued upon retirement, separation or discharged from the Armed Forces. Essentially, proof that he is really a Veteran.
Grover cut right to the chase.
"The best people that give to me are little kids, Mexicans, and older white women - like 50 and older," he explained. "Younger generation they look at you and laugh. My own black people, they look at you like, 'You dressed too well to be homeless.' What am I supposed to wear?"
Grover can quickly list off his military experiences but does not like to discuss the details of his stay at a different kind of base: the Dan River Prison Work Farm.
He was released in 2008 with a record of forgery, drugs and theft. For 90 days he was housed in a halfway house. He expected assistance in finding a job and a place to stay but after the three-month term, it was time to go.
He headed into the woods where he found a community of others living at the margins. Soon after he began panhandling.
Grover continues to panhandle but says he's looking for work.
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