Man accused of panhandling arrested on warrant

A man who patrons outside different stores accused of confronting them was arrested on a warrant out of Elkhart County.
Posted on Feb. 25, 2014 at 4:29 p.m.

MISHAWAKA — A man accused of confronting women at store parking lots in Mishawaka was arrested on a warrant out of Elkhart County early Friday morning, Jan. 24.

John Hertel, 50, of South Bend, was accused of approaching patrons at parking lots and asking for money. Police started receiving tips after people shared their experiences over social media.

Dan Gebo, assistant chief of the Mishawaka Police investigations bureau, said police received about 50 tips sometime Thursday evening. Most people described similar situations and gave similar descriptions of the man they encountered at the parking lots.

After identifying Hertel as the suspect, police arrested him at his home in South Bend just after midnight.

Hertel is wanted in Elkhart County after he failed to report to work release in July 2013, according to court files. Hertel will be transferred to the Elkhart County Jail.

Gebo said Hertel will not face charges out of St. Joseph County because the victims said they did not want to file charges. Police also determined Hertel was panhandling, which according to Indiana code 35-45-17-2 can be considered an offense under certain circumstances.

In Elkhart County Hertel was charged with panhandling in 2006. The charge was dismissed after he pleaded guilty to possession of a controlled substance and possession of cocaine.

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