Woman arrested for panhandling on W. Newberry Road


GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Rebecca Lynn Ruffner, 37, was arrested yesterday afternoon for panhandling on a median on W. Newberry Road.

Ruffner was reportedly standing on a median with a sign asking for money at 7600 W. Newberry Road at 2:45 p.m. yesterday when she was arrested. The Alachua County Sheriff’s Deputy who arrested her wrote that Ruffner has been warned in the past about obstructing traffic and unlawful use of a State transportation right-of-way.

She was charged with using the right-of-way of a State transportation facility outside an incorporated municipality in any way that interferes with the safe and efficient movement of people and property from place to place and causing distractions to motorists.

Ruffner was fined in May following a plea of nolo contendere to a charge of trespassing on a State underpass. Her driver’s license has now been suspended because she hasn’t paid the fine. She was also sentenced to 60 days in jail in May for possession of cocaine in a separate case. She has three local felony convictions as well as an out-of-state criminal history.

She is being held on $200 bond on the misdemeanor charge.

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Articles about arrests are based on reports from law enforcement agencies. The charges listed are taken from the arrest report and/or court records and are only accusations. All suspects are innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. 

  • Well it’s about time that they started doing something about all of these panhandlers. But unfortunately she’s not the only one who does this day in and day out.

  • Little Kenny Cornell making a campaign push until November. Then back to same ol same ol. Next thing you know they may clean up the trash for a change. The ambiance of the concrete barriers looks like a warzone.

    • Arrest all the bums, bring them to Grace, & tag them so we can follow their migration patterns. Give them their Covid shot and a bus ticket out of town with $100 bucks and tell them never to come back & if they do, they will be put in a sustainable Smart village which is jail.

    • Did you not read the article ? Or were you instantly pissed it was a she and not a he ?

  • Put these hopeless animals down, nothing can be done to help them, they are just a drain on society.

    • Biden is providing clean needles & crack pipes to help them along…lots if fentanyl deaths recently.

      • (Sorry Mr. Pink! That reply was supposed to be for Charles – above- and I can’t figure out how to delete it here.)

    • Sounds like you’re at the end of your patience. Understandable if you’ve had personal experiences with family members or close friends who have descended into this behavior and taken you with them. But probably better to allow them to experience the negative consequences of what they’re doing, and try to remain available to offer a way out if they ever decide to change. Some will , though admittedly numbers are small

    • Get her a ticket on the hound outta town and back where she came from unless you want to have her come stay with you…

    • You can lead a horse to water, Jodi. If she doesn’t personally want to change (be “rehabilitated”), it’s just a waste of time and effort

  • It’s about time! They have been allowed on Gainesville streets and county highways for far too long! I hope this is a trend for better things to come!

  • This is fabulous! Panhandlers have been in medians with signs and coming into traffic banging on car windows for far too long! I hope this is a trend in the right direction!

    • Bingo. Now forward that to the Sheriff, the county commissioners, the GNV CC, the GNV chief of police, & the city manager.

  • You know, it’s truly funny reading all these negative comments and all. But this is not any kind of attempt to clean or change our panhandling situation in Gainesville. This was 100% to save face for Gainesville as they escorted the Utah Football team to the stadium and they wanted Gainesville to put on a mask to our homeless problem. Come on y’all?? When have you ever seen anyone get arrested that has been panhandling! Everyone in the comments clearly sees it on the regular as well as myself and I have lived in Gainesville for years! This had nothing to do with changing the situation and everything to do with Gainesville clearing a path for our out of town visitors to use Newberry Road to get to the stadium for the big game yesterday. If Rebecca here had simply panhandled on Archer Road and not Newberry, she would still be free right now. In reality, we have a tarp city on Bear Archery Road that has been there for months and is clearly visible, and I see our law enforcement drive down that road all the time, watching the homeless beg for money on the median and nothing is ever done! Once they start building the new hospital there, that group will migrate further into the city. Hopefully we actually approach the problem moving forward and not just put a mask on it like we don’t allow it here in our city.

  • there is a large piece of land on newberry and fort clark, that is undeveloped. there are always homeless there and i cant even walk with my wife and kids any more… i wish they would develop the site and or fence the entire parcel.

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