Odd request of undercover officer leads to arrest

Caudle, 65, accused of asking for cash, marijuana

INDIANAPOLIS - A panhandling crackdown netted one arrest after an undercover police officer said he was asked for more than just spare change.

Officers were fanned out in street clothes to address panhandling complaints downtown, when one officer said he was approached with an odd request in the 200 block of South Meridian Street.

The officer wrote in his arrest report that he was approached by a man who said, "Can you give me some change?"

The man was asked to repeat, and then the officer said he didn't have any change.

The officer then said the man followed up with a new request, "Can you bring me back some weed?"

Again, the undercover officer answered no.

He then called for uniformed officers, who arrested Henry Caudle, 65, of Indianapolis, on a misdemeanor charge of panhandling.

Police records reflected at least five other arrests for panhandling during the past two nights of the sting.

Mayor Greg Ballard has been pushing for public support of a broader panhandling law, but the proposal has stalled due to lack of support on the Democrat controlled City-County Council.

Current city ordinance only outlaws panhandling in a specific downtown business district, while the mayor's plan would expand that ban to other parts of the city. He has said panhandling tarnishes the city's image for visitors, thus steering conventions to other cities.

Several of his week's downtown arrests were logged on Maryland Street and Illinois Street near businesses that were still open in the 11 p.m. hour.

Police said Caudle, who listed his address as homeless, has a number of past arrests for panhandling in downtown Indianapolis.

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