A "fake homeless woman" caught on video begging for money in Richmond, Virginia, went viral on social media, leading police to arrest her just hours later.
There's no justice like internet justice. On Monday, a video went viral on YouTube and Reddit showing a woman begging for money at the corner of Broad Street and Glenside Drive in Henrico's West End. When she tried to return to her 2014 Fiat parked in a McDonald's parking lot, she was confronted by two men, and that is when things got interesting.
After being confronted for her fraud, she walked up to the McDonald's drive-thru window asking for help from the men who wouldn't "leave her alone." The McDonald's employee apologized, saying that there was nothing she could do.
"What's the problem do you have with me?" the fraudulent panhandler asked.
"Stop stealing people's money. Stop begging for money. You own a car. You're not homeless. Some people are really homeless. Some people are really homeless and need help," the videographer responds.
The woman claims that she isn't begging for money because she's homeless, but rather because she has a disability.
When the videographers pressed even harder, including asking for what her sign said, she shot back and said it's "none of your business." Another man shot in and said that her sign claimed she was homeless.
"Ya'll are barking up the wrong tree, I'm telling you right now," she threatened.
"I bark wherever I want to bark," the videographer shot back.
Since being posted mid-day Monday, the original "Fake Homeless Woman" YouTube video was trending with two million views. However, since then, YouTube has removed the content for "violating YouTube's policy on harassment and bullying." Social media assumed it had been thwarted again by YouTube's censors, but news broke that the subject of that viral video had also been arrested that day.[caption id="attachment_1588" align="alignright" width="177"] Micha Leigh Dominguez. Courtesy Henrico Police[/caption]
Police arrested 40-year-old Micha Leigh Dominguez on Monday and charged her with three counts of "throwing a missile at a moving vehicle," which is a felony.
Dominguez made good on her threats to call the police on the men videotaping her, but when police arrived at the scene, they quickly turned their attention to her.
"Upon arrival the officers located the female complainant in the parking lot near the IHOP restaurant. The complainant advised officers that while standing in the median, several people began harassing her and videotaping her," Henrico Police Lt. Richard Cosby said in a statement. "While speaking with the complainant, the officers were approached by another woman who told officers that the subject they were talking with had thrown items at their cars while in the parking lot, and that the incident had been videotaped, which was subsequently shared with the officers."
After the initial confrontation video reached the top of Reddit, "Redditors" celebrated the news of her arrest, insinuating that the virality of their up votes led to her arrest.
The original "fake homeless woman" viral video was filmed on Sunday but only started gaining steam on Monday. Reports indicate that on Monday, Dominguez called the police on concerned citizens who were warning motorists that she wasn't really homeless.
While social media has received much criticism for getting these "witch hunts" wrong, this does not seem to be one of those cases. As of Monday night, Micha Leigh Dominguez was still being held by Henrico Police.