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Posted on Thu, Mar 22, 2012 : 12:10 p.m.

Woman panhandling by Ann Arbor freeway exit reports sexual assault

By Kyle Feldscher

A man sexually assaulted a 29-year-old woman he picked up near an Ann Arbor freeway exit where she was panhandling, police said. The woman accepted a ride from the man after he informed her he could find her work, police said.

Ann Arbor police went to the area of Interstate 94 and Jackson Road about 1:45 p.m. Wednesday after being notified of a woman who was holding a sign and appeared to be upset and crying, Lt. Renee Bush said.

The woman told police a man had offered her some work and she got into his car, Bush said. It’s unknown where the woman is from, and the police report indicated she is living out of a hotel, Bush said.

While in the car, the man touched her chest and genital area through her clothes, Bush said.

The man drove the woman to his home and, while in the garage, slapped her buttocks three or four times, Bush said. The woman then ran away and returned to the exit ramp, Bush said.

Bush said the woman refused medical treatment but gave a detailed enough description of the man’s truck and home that Officer Jaime Crawford was able to find the residence and identify the man. He has not been arrested, but Ann Arbor police detectives are investigating the case.

Anyone with information on this incident is encouraged to call the Ann Arbor police anonymous tip line at 734-794-6939.

Kyle Feldscher covers cops and courts for He can be reached at or you can follow him on Twitter.



Wed, Mar 28, 2012 : 9:15 p.m.

Why is everyone so quick to assume that this really happened? In my personal experience, many homeless people have very serious mental illnesses - delusions of persecution, etc. Also, many have serious drug problems, and simply don't live in our reality. If this guy took advantage of someone and sexually assaulted that person, by all means, I hope he fries. But we are only hearing one side of the story. Let's be careful before we go overboard with the accusations.


Wed, Mar 28, 2012 : 5:01 p.m.

"The man drove the woman to his home and, while in the garage, slapped her buttocks three or four times, Bush said. The woman then ran away and returned to the exit ramp" Bush said. (????)


Fri, Mar 23, 2012 : 5:14 p.m.

-sigh- Time to dust these off again, since there seem to be a lot of questions on the legality (it isn't) real circumstances (usually doesn't match the sign) of freeway exit panhandlers.:

cornelius McDougenschniefferburgenstein jr. 3 esq.

Fri, Mar 23, 2012 : 8:33 p.m.

maybe the zookster will give her a home on hogback.


Fri, Mar 23, 2012 : 3:43 p.m.

The biggest single cause of American unemployment and homelessness since November 2008 is: the recession, which was caused by unregulated corporate criminals (who were never prosecuted but were instead enriched). The recession is ALLEGED to have ended some time ago: but it's actually in its 40th month:making it one of the longest recoveries on record. Unemployment is still over 8% - which means it's close to 2 times above what's considered to be "full employment" level. We are *encouraged!* to condemn those who resort to panhandling and prostitution to sustain themselves. We are *encouraged!* to focus on the criminal element within the larger category of impoverished Americans. We are *encouraged!* to believe that manufacturing jobs will disappear and will be (and ARE) replaced by equal-value "service industry jobs." Just asking: who is giving us all this "encouragement"-? This report of an isolated incident involving a single panhandler: doesn't begin to tell the whole story. The Law of Cause and Effect is not suspended, the only law that's been suspended is the Law of Accountability.


Fri, Mar 23, 2012 : 12:20 p.m.

Just a " heads up " as summer comes on us and the panhandlers stake out their spots you will see another ruse thats being used ...they stand by the ranp or in the parking lot of a meijers or big box with a gas can's a scam once they get in your car your in possible serious touble....picking up a hitchicker now a days is just plain foolish.....


Fri, Mar 23, 2012 : 3:29 a.m.

Isn't panhandling against the law?

cornelius McDougenschniefferburgenstein jr. 3 esq.

Fri, Mar 23, 2012 : 3:47 p.m.

wrong jamie,no soliciting from motor vehicles.(unless your the pioneer softball team,aapd ignores them when thier in city limits+drive out of city limits to bust highway beggars,where aapd has no jurisdiction+thier city ordinance does not apply.

Jaime Magiera

Fri, Mar 23, 2012 : 7:27 a.m.

The Ann Arbor regulations on "solicitation" are essentially location based (e.g. not allowed in front of the library or post office, not in alleyways, etc.). The exit is not included in that list.


Fri, Mar 23, 2012 : 12:36 a.m.

Why has this man not been arrested?


Wed, Mar 28, 2012 : 9:17 p.m.

How do you know she is credible and her story is truthful? Because she said so?


Fri, Mar 23, 2012 : 3:51 p.m.

The police are doing their investigation that is why. And good for them too. We don't have lynch mobs anymore and this is why


Fri, Mar 23, 2012 : 1:54 a.m.

Story too.. why is there no edit button?


Fri, Mar 23, 2012 : 1:51 a.m.

maybe because there are two sides to every store?


Thu, Mar 22, 2012 : 10:29 p.m.

I was exiting off I-94 at Jackson Rd and saw a young girl-I wonder if this was her? She had dark hair (maybe black) and carried a sign that she was looking for work. A picture of a little girl (her daughter) was also on the cardboard sign. I took a glance at her and she looked upset--like she had been crying. I cannot remeber if this was the day I saw her but I am almost sure it was. I'd say it was around 4:30 or 5:00 that day. I don't give money because there is no telling what these people do with it once cash lands in their hands. I feel like they exhaust more effort standing and hoping someone drops them some change, when instead they could be putting effort into finding a job. There are clothing donations around and places to get cleaned up. Fast food places are always needing help. I wish her well and hope she finds a one deserves to be assaulted.


Thu, Mar 22, 2012 : 9:42 p.m.

Vagrants are usually trying scam people out of money with some lie of a story, this is most likely a lie. The homeless guys on state street are all scam artists.

Jaime Magiera

Fri, Mar 23, 2012 : 7:21 a.m.

Vagrants? Are we living in 1700s London now? Actually, the people who panhandle on State Street are very honest. The older gentleman who sits along the Borders building wall is creative, funny and speaks honestly about his situation. He even created and posted flyers to help promote a homeless art show on campus. You should ask him for details. His story is more nuanced than you think. The guy who makes jewelry along the same wall, well, he makes jewelry. Many of the others have signs that say various things about food and shelter, which they do need. A few are even explicitly honest on desire to get drunk/high (I dislike these, as it feeds into stereotypes). The only slightly dishonest/manipulative person is the guy with with the little flags, which anyone with a reasonable sense of city life, can see through. Overall, your statement on State Street "vagrants" is false. I can prove it so with direct experience talking to many of those people.


Thu, Mar 22, 2012 : 8:40 p.m.

I called the police to report a woman (I believe she was older than that), standing at the westbound off ramp of I-94 and Baker Rd. She had a sign that read "Stranded, Hungry". That was at 5:00pm last night. Not sure if it was the same woman though. She had on a white blouse and rolled up jeans. I reported her just in case her plea was legitimate.


Thu, Mar 22, 2012 : 8:40 p.m.

"The woman then ran away and returned to the exit ramp, Bush said" so he couldn't find her again? I don't quite understand...


Thu, Mar 22, 2012 : 7:12 p.m.

I need to be very careful of my comments...because someone desperate for money, particularly if they have children to feed, can find themselves in situations that they would never consider under other circumstances (like getting in the car of a stranger with the promise for work.) However, this story leaves me with a very uneasy feeling because there was a young lady with a sign at I-94/Ann Arbor Saline Rd last week who was crying and appeared upset. A woman in another car stopped to talk with her and then she returned to her spot, the crying continued. (I was in the far lane.) I am not going to suggest this is the same woman, I'm not going to suggest this is a ploy....but I'm really concerned. These women need to know there are options to street panhandling. It is a dangerous situation to be in.

Kyle Feldscher

Thu, Mar 22, 2012 : 6:57 p.m.

We've changed the headline to report that the woman reported the sexual assault. The comments that said we neglected to refer to the incident as "alleged" or that the man is innocent until proven guilty were all correct. This is an allegation by the woman that's being investigated by police.


Fri, Mar 23, 2012 : 3:49 p.m.

How pathetic that it takes the readers on to point that out to you guys. Why can't you all police yourselves as vociferously as you police these comments? Its a glaring and extremely tacky double standard.


Thu, Mar 22, 2012 : 6:39 p.m.

I didn't realize that replaced a trial by jury as the finder of fact in criminal cases. Change your headline, it is an aledged attack that has not been confirmed nor has anyone been found guilty. Take some pride in your work for pete's sake. Disgusting

Kyle Feldscher

Thu, Mar 22, 2012 : 6:54 p.m.

This is absolutely correct, and we've fixed the headline. Thank you for calling this to our attention.

Unusual Suspect

Thu, Mar 22, 2012 : 6:25 p.m.

"Man sexually assaults woman panhandling by Ann Arbor freeway exit" Why does your headline state that it happened? Isn't it an allegation at this point? How do you know that this did in fact happen? Do you have some evidence or insight into this that the police don't yet have?


Fri, Mar 23, 2012 : 3:45 p.m.

Thumbs up


Thu, Mar 22, 2012 : 6:29 p.m.

Exactly. But, is not bound to their own rules. Didn't you know? It's just the people receiving the "news".


Thu, Mar 22, 2012 : 6:17 p.m.

I am sad to think that a 29 year old girl has no family resources to rely on. This story disgusts me.


Thu, Mar 22, 2012 : 6:27 p.m.

Maybe she does have family, the story didn't say one way or the other.

Theresa Taylor

Thu, Mar 22, 2012 : 6:08 p.m.

I have passed that woman every single day at that exit and it just breaks my heart to think that she was 1) violated and 2) that some of you think that this is ACCEPTABLE because she is homeless. Sexual assault is not okay, no matter what the circumstance is. I'm glad to see so many HORRIBLE remarks removed. You people should be ashamed of yourselves!


Wed, Mar 28, 2012 : 9:19 p.m.

Please share the evidence you have that the police do not. I want to know why you are so sure this happened.


Thu, Mar 22, 2012 : 6:25 p.m.

"that some of you think that this is ACCEPTABLE because she is homeless." What? Where'd you pull that thought from?

Unusual Suspect

Thu, Mar 22, 2012 : 6:22 p.m.


Kitty O'Brien

Thu, Mar 22, 2012 : 6:01 p.m.

Why was my comment removed?

Nathan Bomey

Thu, Mar 22, 2012 : 6:34 p.m.

Amy O, this story covers a very sensitive topic and we are, as always, applying our comment moderation policy, which disallows comments that are off-topic or implicitly, if not intentionally, blame the victim. Thanks for reading.


Thu, Mar 22, 2012 : 6:20 p.m.

You're a violator? Idk, people get a kick out of reporting comments they don't like it seems.


Thu, Mar 22, 2012 : 5:43 p.m.

**I edited it to remove any portion that could be misconstrued as "putting blame" or "Identifying the victim". The only 2 parts I think MAYBE "violated" the guidelines.** I'm always troubled when I think about these freeway panhandlers. On one hand you hear stories and articles about how they have forcefully entered cars and robbed people. On the other hand you see them holding signs asking for work/help everyday and wonder "why can't they find an entry level job somewhere? anywhere? are they even trying?". You also hear about the pan-handler who walks to a nearby lot and enters an expensive automobile. I saw a guy on State St. get out of a BMW 3 series and walk to the exit holding a sign. I know another comment mentioned one getting into a Humvee. I've also seen allot of single parents holding signs with pictures of their children. Always makes me wonder.... where are their children at that moment? - I have had many classes and listened to many professors (some of whom wrote their doctorate papers on homelessness) talk about the hardships faced by many homeless individuals - mental illness, competition for jobs, addictions to name a few. There are many valid points. It is defiantly a sad and gruesome existence full of many unknowns. - It's sad that some of those who are truly hit with hard times have to also struggle against the "bad pan-handlers" and the image they portray.


Fri, Mar 23, 2012 : 3:51 p.m.

What they drive has nothing to do with them being homeless or poor. Perhaps they lost their well paying job recently? The car might be the only asset they have.


Thu, Mar 22, 2012 : 5:02 p.m.

That's just despicable.

Michael J

Thu, Mar 22, 2012 : 4:45 p.m.

Wow, reading this article made me feel like i was reading smut