Just get some pretty cans, and you are in business!

Ministerio de Gobernación, Policía y Seguridad Pública photo Who would not be impressed by these cute cans?

Short on cash? This may be a solution.

Round up a uniform or perhaps clerical garb, find a can and paste drawings of happy kids on it. Then you are ready to solicit funds for your favorite charity: You!

A couple of warnings: Don’t dress like a Cruz Roja volunteer because personnel in that agency are available 24 hours a day to verify your activities.

And there seems to be a Costa Rican law against soliciting funds at agricultural markets or ferias.

The Fuerza Pública said that a couple of Cartago men were snagged by those rules Sunday when they were passing a can at the open-air market in Hatillo. Some citizens became suspicious and called police. And workers at the Cruz Roja Costarricense were on the job to report that they never heard of the men, later identified as the brothers Vargas Zamora. The agency also said that only in extreme emergencies does the Cruz Roja solicit funds in public.

But, said the Cruz Roja workers, they had heard of the brothers’ uncle who had been associated with the Cruz Roja in Cartago. Police speculate that is from whom the brothers got the uniforms.

One of the brothers should have known about the rule against soliciting at open-air markets. The security ministry said he had been a policeman himself until December.

Fake solicitations are a favorite technique of some panhandlers in San José. Most of the panhandlers are honest with what they do and just sit on the sidewalk shaking cans and perhaps playing a musical instrument. But there are some impersonators of members of religous groups and some with other creative techniques at work in the city.

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