WARREN COUNTY, Ind. (WLFI) — Williamsport native Kandice Nelson is saddened and angered by a littering ticket Williamsport Town Marshal Ted Latoz issued to homeless veteran Timothy Watt.
Watt, also known as Harry the Homeless Hippie, is traveling the state hoping to break the stigma of homelessness by living off donations and giving the rest to local charities.
“Not everyone is welcoming,” said Nelson, tearfully.
She has been homeless before.
“It’s something that people don’t want to see and you’re sent away,” Nelson said.
So when she met Watt in Fowler two weeks ago, she was especially inspired by his cause.
“I just think what he’s doing is very noble, and I’ve never seen anyone doing it before,” she said. “To step up and try and make a difference for everyone not just themselves.”
She was excited his next stop was in her hometown of Williamsport, but that’s where he ran into some trouble.
“There was nothing I could do,” said Watt.
He claims while he was sleeping in Williamsport, someone dropped off a mattress and other items without his permission. He couldn’t take the items with him on his journey to the next county.
“What am I going to do? Stick it on top of old Dolly there [a shopping cart where he keeps all of his belongings] and try to hang onto it while I’m pushing her with one hand?” asked Watt sarcastically.
He said some locals told him they’d get rid of the items when he left town, but they didn’t follow through with their word.
So, Latoz let Watt know he left the items behind by posting it on his Facebook page.
Latoz posted, “Hey, You forgot to pick up your blankets and mattress from our waterfall observation deck in Williamsport.”
This is what Watt said, in its entirety, in response to Latoz’s post:
“So feel free ta take ’em to your house – b sure ta giftwrap that stained sheet fer yer ma fer christmas – i’m sure she’ll appreciate it…. this is a binding & legal statement: I, Timothy B Watt, aka Harry Hippie, do hereby these presents known bequeath all my earthly goods left in Williamsport, Warren County, Indiana to Ted Latoz. Ok, now they’re your legal responsibility buddy – b sure ta take good careuvem, thnx so much.”
A day later, Latoz drove about 40 minutes to the Vermillion County Public Library to serve Watt a littering ticket.
“Because he had been so nice to me on the first day I’d been in Williamsport, I thought he was coming to, you know, shake my hand or donate or something,” said Watt. “He donated the ticket.”
Latoz gave Watt a number to call to find out the cost, but Watt didn’t want to do that. So, News 18 called the number for him.
“The fine is $158,” a woman from the Warren County Clerk’s Office stated.
“They’re not getting it from me,” Watt said after we told him how much the ticket would cost.
Watt posted about the ticket on Facebook, and that’s when Deputy Marshal Shawn Briles posted a comment cussing at Watt — calling him worthless and telling him to get a job.
“A lot of the community is upset,” said Nelson. “A lot of the people, I think, maybe don’t understand his cause.”
Latoz disagrees with Briles’ Facebook post, but stands by the ticket.
Watt isn’t giving in, though.
“They want to put me in jail, go ahead,” said Watt.
Nelson added, “I think Ted Latoz should eat the ticket. Because if Watt does pay the ticket, that’s less money that he gets to donate to his charities.”