Frustrated Provo panhander turns aggressive, gets arrested

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Provo police say a drunken panhandler's frustration turned to aggression, and that left him just as poor — and behind bars.

The 55-year-old man remained in the Utah County jail Monday on more than $4,000 bail, booked on suspicion of assault, public intoxication, disorderly conduct and aggravated solicitation.

Provo police Sgt. Brandon Post said the man was arrested last Thursday near University Avenue and Center Street. Witnesses said he became agitated after he approached a group of people eating in an outdoor cafe and asked for money; they instead offered him food.

During the ensuing altercation, the suspect allegedly struck one of the cafe patrons on the shoulder twice.

Arriving police officers also learned that the suspect had earlier assaulted the female manager of Gandolfo's restaurant at 18 N. University Ave. The manager had confronted the panhandler when he entered the restaurant and began shouting at staff and customers.