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DALLAS Panhandlers are often just looking for change or a dollar or two.

But some are turning violent against those who refuse to hand over cash, and Dallas police are stepping up patrols in the city's Uptown neighborhood.

Three Houston businessmen were in Dallas having dinner outdoors at the Vino 100 restaurant on McKinney Avenue when a panhandler walked up to their table.

'Normally, you tell somebody to to move on, they just move on,' said Denis Hensley. 'But he got very upset that we wouldn't give him money.'

The panhandler got aggressive, threw hot coffee in their faces and fled.

'He ran off and then we found him walking across the street and went and pinned him down and held him there for the cops to come,' said Kirk Verone.

The men took a picture of the panhandler after running several blocks to catch him.

'He started getting aggressive again, ready to fight, and we just calmed him down and told him if he didn't want to get hurt he would stay put until the police got there,' Thomas Goen said.

Police gave the man a ticket for a Class C assault, the equivalent of a speeding ticket.

Vino 100 manager Denise Jones said panhandlers have been a problem.

'On occasion they just walk away, and at other times they get pretty pushy,' she said. 'It can be uncomfortable.'

The Houston businessmen said they wanted the suspect arrested, but he got away with a ticket and a trip to the homeless shelter.

Dallas police said they are increasing patrols in the area.

The businessmen told News 8 they normally wouldn't have taken matters into their own hands, but feared the suspect would harm someone else. Because the men had no visible injuries, the man was not arrested on a more serious assault charge.

E-mail rlopez@wfaa.com

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