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Homeless Concerned in Wake of Smart Kidnapping

Homeless Concerned in Wake of Smart Kidnapping

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The homeless are concerned about their image. Since Brian David Mitchell, a drifter and religious fanatic, was accused of kidnapping Elizabeth Smart at knifepoint, some homeless are worried about a backlash against them.

"Now people kind of wonder about you," said a 48-year-old homeless man named Robert who queued up for one of the 50 or so temporary labor jobs available in the west part of town this weekend. "Or at least you wonder if they're wondering about you.

Guys at the shelter are talking about it a lot. We're worried the jobs won't come like they usually do this summer."

Pamela Atkinson, a homeless advocate, said many homeless people have told her they believe they are being stereotyped because of Mitchell.

Mitchell worked a half day on the Smart family's roof and is now charged in Elizabeth's kidnapping.

Mike Asmussen, case manager at the placement office that handles temporary job requests, said for a couple day after Elizabeth was found, requests for day help dropped off.

(Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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