JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- A panhandling mother is caught on camera using her kids as a ploy to guilt people into giving them cash, and it appears this isn't her first time.
Action News asked local witnesses if the family they saw Monday was the same one they saw earlier this month. They confirmed it was.
Alina Antonescu was arrested on Oct. 4 for soliciting with her children. Action News' viewers caught several images of her back at it Monday.
"She holds up a sign that says 'need help rent is due ... husband left need food, will work', things of that nature," said Tameka Spell. We drove around looking for Antonescu and her sign, but we didn't see her.
Spell tells Action News she did. Spell works at Rent N Roll on 103rd Street and says she told the woman she couldn't beg for money near her Westside business. Police were called around 1 p.m. Monday and that got people snapping more photos. One of the pictures shows JSO booting the panhandling family from the premises.
"The South is really known for their Southern hospitality and kindness and these people are completely taking advantage of it," said local witness Jesse Lange.
Earlier this month when Antonescu was arrested, just seven miles away at the Oakleaf Town Center, police say she raked in $200 in cash and 11 gift cards. According to police, the kids ages 2 to 9 were forced to play a primary role.
"She's out there all the time from morning to night. I really don't even know when they eat, sleep or anything but she always has her kids out there," said Spell.
DCF tells Action News they investigate reports of neglect or abuse as defined by state law, but they do not have the authority to investigate instances of questionable decisions made by parents.