A 65-year-old man often gives money to panhandlers.

Wednesday, he learned that the practice has its risks.

He was having lunch at Burger King on 1383 Cove Road at about 2:44 p.m. when he was approached by a woman asking for money for food.

He took money out of his pocket to give her change. When he did, she took an undetermined amount of money from him and attempted to flee the restaurant.

The victim tripped the suspect, which caused her to fall and drop some of the money. She then fled the restaurant with an undetermined amount of money.

"It was a surprise to me,'' the victim said. He said he often gives small amounts of money to people panhandling on the street.

"Now, I'm confused,'' he said.

New Bedford Police remind the public that the best way to ensure that money will legitimately help the homeless is to donate to agencies that directly help the homeless. A full list of local agencies can be found through nbhspn.com

The incident was reported at 2:44 p.m.

The suspect is believed to be a homeless woman who witnesses said frequents the restaurant looking for food and money.

Police are searching for the suspect. Anyone with information is asked to call the police department at (508) 991-6350, the anonymous tip line at (508) 992-7463, or e-mail tip@newbedfordpd.com.

--New Bedford Police