Panhandler is arrested while working JFX exit BALTIMORE CITY

June 24, 1993|By Michael James | Michael James,Staff Writer

A woman who regularly panhandles on a Baltimore street, using signs to urge contributions for her 5-week-old baby, was arrested yesterday on charges of soliciting money from motorists, and the child was taken from her custody, police said.

Sherone Denise Carter, 25, was arrested about 3:35 p.m. at the Jones Falls Expressway's North Avenue exit ramp, where she and her husband have been panhandling rush-hour traffic since October.

Ms. Carter had walked out into southbound traffic stopped at a red light in the 1900 block of Mount Royal Terrace to solicit money from motorists when Officer Jim Holford spotted her.

Officer Holford said Ms. Carter's daughter, Justarr Zawada Carter, was in a stroller on the nearby sidewalk, being watched by a stranger while her mother went to beg the motorists.

The officer arrested Ms. Carter on a charge of solicitation on roadways, a misdemeanor violation of a statute prohibiting anyone from walking on a roadway to solicit "a ride, employment or business," according to the city code.

Social services officials were notified about the child, and they took her into protective custody, police said. A charge of child neglect may be filed later, pending an investigation by the Baltimore Department of Social Services, police said.

Ms. Carter, who lists her address as the North Avenue Motel in the 100 block of W. North Ave., was being held last night at the Women's Detention Center. Her husband, Christopher Carter, 26, has been jailed since last week at the Baltimore City Detention Center on charges of solicitation on roadways and nonpayment of child support, police said.

The arrests of the Carters, who were recently featured in an article in The Sun about panhandlers, are not their first. Officer Holford said he has now arrested Ms. Carter twice on the solicitation charge and Mr. Carter three times. The first time he arrested Ms. Carter, the officer said, he never formally filed a charge because she was pregnant and it seemed counterproductive. But yesterday, he said, he had no choice.

"I've had complaints from motorists [about Ms. Carter and her husband]. I've had several people tell me they pose a danger, and they really do. There's heavy traffic in that area. It's really the exit ramp off I-83," Officer Holford said.

"People really don't like being approached in their cars. I've tried to warn her on several different occasions, but it's just become too much of a problem," the officer said.

The Carters said in a previous interview that they make up to $80 a day on Mount Royal Terrace.

In the months before their baby was born, the couple panhandled with handwritten signs playing up Ms. Carter's pregnancy. Since the baby's birth on May 17, Mr. Carter had carried a new sign, saying, "Please help me support my wife and infant daughter."

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