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Fake Nun Not Welcome to Beg in Little Italy

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NEW YORK (AP) — A woman who donned a habit and cross and asked diners to give donations for the needy is no longer welcome in New York’s “Little Italy” after restaurant owners found out she wasn’t actually a nun.

“She won’t be welcome anymore,” said Nick Mesce, an owner of Giovanna’s Ristorante Italiono. “Now that we know the truth, we will ask her to leave if she does come down.”

Mindy LeGrand, 54, would walk around with a tin cup and say she was an Episcopal sister raising money for an orphanage and for the homeless, the New York Post reported.

LeGrand begged for five hours on a recent Saturday afternoon before stopping to buy bootleg DVDs on the street and trying to sell perfume to a woman on the subway. Afterward, LeGrand pulled off her habit and skirt, lit up a cigarette and walked off wearing a pink tank top and brown shorts. The Post said she was caught posing as a nun in the Bronx in 1997.

A family member who answered the door at her home said there was no orphanage.

“She’s not a nun,” Naconda LeGrand said. “She’s sister Mindy.”

Contact information for LeGrand was not immediately available.