Speaking of The Panhandler, a Bethesda resident has filed this report with me: "Your panhandler has also been working the Friendship Heights area. He approached me in the community park with his older story: 'Ma'am, you won't believe this, but some teen-agers broke open my gas tank and stole 12 gallons of gas, and now I can't get home.' Of course he had left his wallet at home."

One doesn't stop to analyze a story of this kind when he is taken unawares, but a bit of reflection brings several questions to mind.

If he saw the teen-agers tampering with his gas tank, why didn't he raise a holler or call the police? If he didn't see the incident, how does he know teen-agers were responsible? How does he know precisely 12 gallons of gas were taken? Do you know how many gallons of gasoline are in your tank at every given moment? Where is his car? Why does he ride around without his wallet? Doesn't he know he must have his driver's license and registration on his person whenever he is in his car?

Why doesn't he tell us the one about the three bears? It's a much more believable story.