Woman accused of aggressive panhandling

Posted at 5:55 PM, Mar 24, 2016

A female panhandler is accused of aggressively harassing people in parking lots throughout Wesley Chapel, Zephyrhills and Dade City.

Victims say Ashley Deusterman, 28, consistently approaches people in their cars saying that she's had a fight with her boyfriend and needs a ride. She also often demands cash, they said.

However, when people refuse, victims say Deusterman gets aggressive and angry when she doesn't get her way.

ABC Action News has learned Deusterman has been arrested more than 10 times on charges of disorderly conduct, trespassing, disturbing the peace and drugs. She was most recently arrested on March 19 for methamphetamine possession and disorderly conduct. As of March 24, she remains behind bars.

It was three minutes of sheer panic for Stephen Golder and his friends when she approached him in his car in a Sonic parking lot in Wesley Chapel, Golder said.

Stephen said she knocked on the passenger window and his friend rolled it down.

Stephen said she approached first asking for a ride to Zephyrhills and then, demanded cash. When they refused, he says she got angry, aggressive, started swearing and then most troubling, reached into the car and tried to get inside.

"My mind was racing like a million miles a minute," Stephen said. "Get out of there, get out of there."

Without pausing to think, the teen said he did the only thing he could: drove off. He said Deusterman was still clinging to the inside of his car.

"I just reacted based out of fear," he said.

Amazingly, just a few weeks ago, Stephen's dad, Jim Golder, said he met Deusterman too. Jim said Deusterman told him the same story. At first, he didn't realize it could be the same woman.

"She bangs on the window, so I rolled it down," Jim said.

He said Deusterman asked for a ride, and then cash. He refused, and Jim said Deusterman got mad.

"She got even more angry, aggressive," Jim said.

On a Facebook group for the Wesley Chapel community, there's a post with nearly 80 comments describing aggressive encounters with a female panhandler they say is Deusterman.

"She's scary and I have no doubt she's dangerous and I worry how it's going to escalate," Jim said.

The Pasco County Sheriff's Office says never open your car door for strangers and do not give them money. That money often doesn't go to help feed the hungry, the office said. Instead, it can go to drugs.

Jim is just glad Stephan made it out of a very close call.

"I mean, if she had a weapon when she accosted my son, I mean that could have turned out to be really bad," he said.

Now, he hopes deputies, police and a judge will be able to keep Deusterman off the streets.

"Hopefully they find her and get her the help that she needs," Jim said.

The Pasco County Sheriff's Office said it can be hard to keep perpetual panhandlers off the streets, but if you see any suspicious or violent behavior, immediately call 911.