Larry Martin (Channel 2 Action News)

Man receives panhandling ticket after wallet stolen

Atlanta police ticketed a man for panhandling, but the man who received the notice to appear in court says it’s not him.

The ticket states Larry Martin was panhandling at Interstate 20 and Moreland Avenue. For nearly seven months, Martin has been trying to tell the court they got the wrong guy.

Martin believes he was the victim of stolen identity.

Martin says the only reason he can think of for the confusion is that his wallet was stolen weeks before he got this ticket.

“I turned around and called Atlanta Police Department and I reported my wallet as stolen and they took a police report and it’s on record,” Martin said.

He thinks whoever was cited for panhandling gave the officer his stolen ID.

“They wanted me to plead guilty or not guilty and I said, ‘It’s neither one. It wasn’t me,’” Martin said.

Martin's employer even wrote a letter to the court saying he was at work.

The letter reads, “This is verification that Larry Martin was at work on November the 29, 2014, from 9am to 7pm.”

Martin said even with the letter he is still having trouble proving to the court that he was not the person panhandling that day.

Martin has already been to court on this matter three times to plead with the judge and try to get a public defender.

“One time they tried to call the officer and they said he was off work and couldn’t get in touch with him,” Martin said.

His case continues being reset and every time he goes to court is time he has to take off of work as a maintenance man, which is costing him time and money.

“It’s just been a nightmare,” he said. “The system is broken and I’m afraid if it hasn’t already happened, it’s gonna happen to someone else. It may happen to you, to anyone.”

Martin is expected back in court again in one week.

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