PUNTA GORDA, Fla. - Police in Punta Gorda are investigating a possible scam that counts on the kindness of others.
A man introduces himself as a disabled veteran and asks for money.
One local woman who is having second thoughts about her act of charity.
The store clerk did not want to be identified, since the man she gave money to has not been arrested.
"I just don't want this to happen to other people," she told WINK News.
She said a man with one arm and a bandage on his neck came into her antique and jewelry shop on Thursday.
"He said that him and his wife -- she was pregnant -- they were hungry and they needed gas money to get back to Tallahassee. He said that he had been wounded in the war," the woman explained, telling WINK the man's story hit close to her heart. "My grandfather served in World War II, my husband was in the Army, my father was in the Navy for 23 years. I immediately connected with that story that he gave me."
She wrote the man a check.
After the stranger left the store, the clerk decided to search for his name on Google. Instead of finding a man who served his country, she found a registered sex offender with a long criminal rap sheet.
"I was horrified," she said. "I called the police immediately."
WINK News is not revealing the man's identity because he has not officially been named a suspect in Thursday's case, but he did serve a prison sentence for kidnapping and sexual battery. The clerk identified the man's mug shot as the same man who came into her store.
"It's an insult to the military," she said "It's an insult to all the boys we have fighting for our country now. It's a total insult."