Posted on October 14, 2005

Gangs Steal from the Poor

Aftenposten (Oslo), Oct. 13

Good Samaritan Arne Skarpsno accuses organized groups of stealing food that he is trying to hand out to weary alcoholics and drug addicts.

Skarpsno, a pensioner who has attracted widespread attention for his tireless efforts to help the disadvantaged, despite having little himself, said that his latest efforts are being foiled by immigrants.

Among the crowds of needy who daily line up to receive bags of food are organized groups of well-dressed men who do not appear to need a handout, and hoard as much as they can.

“It makes me furious, because they are not the ones I want to help. But I can’t turn anyone away, then I’ll be called a racist,” Skarpsno told newspaper Dagsavisen.

Dagsavisen reports that groups of immigrant men go repeatedly through the food queue, reversing their jackets or putting on caps to avoid being recognized. They then sort their takings into larger bags.

“Parasites that sponge are a problem. We cannot have this in case the food ends up in shops. Arne has to sort this out. It is just this kind of hoarding, large-scale, that forced us to stop his handing out food at Plata (an addict gathering place in downtown Oslo),” Kåre Stølen, chief at Grønland police station, told Dagsavisen.

Stølen said that Skarpsno had to either stop the hoarding or coordinate his charity efforts with local authorities.

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