‘Please do not refer to me as The Bogus Beggar’: Gary Thompson out of jail and back at it
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - Gary Thompson doesn’t like talking to me anymore. To understand why, we have to go back to 2014.
“I appreciate you guys busting me,” Thompson said. “Y’all really good at it. I average about $100,000 a year doing this.”
While Lexington police held a press conference to warn people about a guy faking a mental disability act to rake in big bucks, that guy was demonstrating it right outside.
“Mm... mm... money,” Thompson stuttered, then smiled and straightened up. “I gotta go y’all, gotta make some money.”
He was jailed and chased out of places all around Kentucky and earned the nickname, “The Bogus Beggar.”
“If you can help me whenever I ask for money I won’t act mental,” Thompson said in a story that aired years ago.
He was then spotted in Louisville. He seemed to be OK when no one was looking, so I put on a hidden camera and tried to walk by.
“Please help, fell out my wheelchair today,” Thompson said. “All my coins, somebody take it. Need bus fare get back home.”
“What’s your name?” I asked.
“My name Gary Davis, nice to meet you,” he said.
When I pulled out a visible camera, everything changed.
“You’re really Gary Thompson,” I said. “My name is John Boel with WAVE. I’ve been watching you. You’re the bogus beggar guy who makes $100,000 a year right? You’re able to change your voice? I’ve seen all the stories on you.”
“That’s a lie,” he said.
“Gary, I know what your deal is,” I said. “Let’s be real, OK?”
“I not doing no deal here,” Thompson said. “Camera off, I don’t want to be on it.”
“Don’t you feel bad doing this when there are real people out here?” I asked.
“I’m not faking nothing,” he said.
After that report, the feds started investigating Gary Thompson. Soon, he would plead guilty to falsely representing his mental condition in order to collect $106,000 in disability and Medicaid benefits over four years.
The judge tacked on 15 more months to the plea agreement for a total of 42 months.
When he got out, guess what he went back to doing, and guess who put on a disguise and hidden camera again?
“My would like a Big Red and $2 for bus fare please,” Thompson said as he approached me.
“$2 for bus fare?” I asked.
“$1.50 there and $1.50 back,” he said. “So that makes $2 dollars right? How much that equals?”
“Three dollars,” I said.
The mental disability act changed when I pulled out another camera again.
“You’re still faking your condition, embellishing your condition,” I said.
“I’m not,” Thompson said.
“When I first walked up on you, you had your voice changed,” I said.
“Yeah I have different personalities the doctor tells me,” Thompson said.
“What do you say to people who say you didn’t learn anything in prison and you’re still faking your condition?” I asked.
“That they’re liars,” Thompson said. “I’m not faking my condition.”
“But isn’t that what you were convicted of, of faking your condition and getting government money?” I asked.
“I pled guilty, yes,” he said.
“What are you going to do next?” I asked.
“Try to get a job somewhere,” Thompson said. “Do the right thing and straighten my life up.”
But Gary Thompson didn’t straighten his life up. For all the people who’ve asked me whatever happened to “The Bogus Beggar,” I discovered he wound up jailed at Metro Corrections for most of 2022 after a stabbing melee in a 3rd Street apartment.
The police report charged him with two counts of assault notes in an argument “over some cigarettes that reminded him of an 8 ball of cocaine and $65 he lost earlier.”
Thompson “struck the victim with his fist” and “stood up from his wheelchair and attempted to stab Victim 1.”
The report stated “Victim 2 was also stabbed in the torso,” then Thompson “stabbed himself saying he wanted to die.”
After a psychiatric evaluation, Thompson was found competent for trial.
Then in July, he pleaded guilty, got probation, got back out on the streets of Louisville, and I immediately started getting complaints ranging from the same old act to an attempted jewelry theft at a local mall.
So I put on another disguise and a hidden camera and he tried to get my attention, mumbling as I walked by him on 4th Street.
“Can’t hear you, what?” I asked.
“The law is ours,” he said.
“The Lord is ours?” I asked.
“The law,” he said.
“The law is ours?” I asked. “What do you mean?”
He kept mumbling incoherently.
”The law is ours,” he said. “The Lord.”
“Huh?” I said.
“The Lord is ours,” Thompson said.
Everything changed when he figured out who I was.
“Are you John Boel?” Thompson asked.
“Yes,” I said.
“You got a hidden camera?” he asked.
When I came back with a cameraman, Thompson was perturbed.
“Do you know why people would be calling me to complain about you?” I asked.
“I may have an idea,” he said. “I’m homeless and I’m hungry, and I ask for food, and I ask for money for food, yes. Get out of my face, John.”
“Part of the complaints are that you’re doing this mentally ill thing again,” I said.
“I’m gonna show you what I’m gonna do to you, John,” Thompson said, getting up out of his wheelchair.
“What’s that?” I asked.
“Show what I’m gonna do to you,” he said as he walked forward, snatched the microphone out of my hand, and threw it out in the middle of 4th Street.
The microphone was disabled. The interview was over. But the cash kept coming.
In a letter to WAVE maintaining his innocence, Thompson wrote “Please do not refer to me as the Bogus Beggar in this broadcast.”
“PS: Benjamin Franklin once quipped ‘It is better a hundred guilty persons escape, then one innocent person should suffer,’” he added.
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