Manipulating sympathy

Stuff reports:

Tourist beggars who claim their camper van was robbed have been asked by police to move on.

A man and woman who say they are American tourists have been outside Ballantynes on Colombo St in Christchurch for more than a month. 

Since December, the pair have sat with a piece of cardboard sign held down by two water bottles. The sign reads: “American tourists everything stolen from campervan”.

Sergeant Greg Hume said he had approached the couple numerous times and told them to move on. 

They had not reported any theft to police, he said.

“I have asked them to ensure the matter is reported to police by making an official complaint and they haven’t done it.”

The tourists told Hume they had been staying with friends since they lost their accommodation in a camper van.

“For whatever reason it, [the camper van] was left on the side of the road and then it got trashed apparently and their items stolen.” 

People on the street have sympathised with their story but nearby businesses remain unconvinced.

Chantelle Padget said the couple bought multiple items from the convenience store where she worked. 

“They don’t even come in here and buy cheap stuff, they will come in and buy cigarettes . . . that’s why I don’t believe them.”

Padget thought the tourists were getting at least $100 a day.

It seems pretty clear they are fraudsters.

I wonder if they are breaking any laws though? Is it illegal to make a false claim so people donate money to you

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