Cops Took This Street Vendor's Money. Now, More Than $70,000 Has Been Raised For Him.

"People saw I wasn’t doing anything wrong."

A street vendor who went viral on the Internet has received more than  $70,000 in donations after a University of California, Berkeley police officer took his cash and gave him a citation for illegally selling hot dogs.

The vendor, who has asked to only be identified as "Beto," was selling hot dogs outside California Memorial Stadium during UC Berkeley's first football game. He was cited for selling food without a proper permit. But it was what Martin Flores — who attended the game — caught on camera that set the internet ablaze.

After writing the man a citation, Officer Sean Aranas took money from the vendor's wallet and filed it for evidence. Flores filmed the interaction as Beto pleaded in Spanish for the officer not to take his money.

A tweet showing the video received more than 100,000 retweets, and one Facebook video posted by Mexican Vines has more than 6 million views. 

During an interview with NBC Bay Area's Telemundo sister station, Beto said that he was a construction worker who only set up the hot dog stand to earn a little extra cash and support his family.

"People saw I wasn't doing anything wrong," he said. "I wasn't stealing or drinking. I was just working to sustain my family."

Apparently, that's exactly what people saw. Because after the incident, when the video was going viral, a GoFundMe page set up for Beto quickly started receiving thousands of dollars in donations. As of Wednesday morning, it had broken $71,000, far more than the original goal of $10,000. A Plus has not been able to verify the authenticity of the GoFundMe page.

UCPD officials said three vendors had been warned about selling food in the area without a permit. UC Berkeley Vice Chancellor Scott Biddy declined to comment on the specifics of this incident, but told NBC News that "it is typical to collect any suspected illegal funds and enter them into evidence."

"I'm very thankful for the support I've received," Beto said.


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