Sympathy turns to anger after NJ homeless man’s pet ‘scam’ exposed
FAIRFIELD (Essex) — A homeless man is wanted by police on charges that he threatened a woman who exposed his puppy panhandling as a scam.
Devonte D. Young, 23, held up a sign for several days around the Thanksgiving holiday that read "Homeless: Puppy Eats First." That led many to make donations of dog food and cash, according to Deputy Police Chief Anthony Manna.
After receiving many calls, police offered to contact shelters and social services on the Michigan man's behalf but he declined their help.
People who contributed to Young later alerted police that the dog-food donations were found in the garbage. A woman went to the street that Young frequented and held a sign that read “Scam. It’s on Facebook” and “Fraud Save your Money.” She also set up a Facebook Live event to expose him.
Young confronted her in an argument caught on video. The woman claimed Young twice threatened to have the dog attack her.
"I would leave if I were you," he's heard on video telling her.
In the video, Young says he threw away the food because the dog didn't eat it and he couldn't drag around that many cans. The woman also claimed she saw him get into a car. Young denied her allegations and accused her of questioning his story because he is gay.
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After reviewing the video with the Essex County Prosecutor's Office, police charged Young with making a terroristic threat.
Police believe he has been staying at the Knights Inn in Montville but did not find him there. He was contacted via cell phone and police said he agreed to surrender on Friday afternoon. But Young never showed up.
Manna said the food that was retrieved will be donated to area animal shelters.
Manna asked anyone who knows Young's whereabouts to call 973-227-1400.