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Spare Change Guy arrested in Cambridge for failing to register as a convicted sex offender

Bubier

Cambridge Police report that John Bubier, whose croaky "spare change" pleas are familiar to anybody who's spent time in Downtown Crossing over the years, was arrested in Central Square last night on a warrant charging he failed to register with local authorities as a convicted sex offender.

Bubier, 67, of Framingham, but more recently listing the Pine Street Inn on Harrison Avenue in the South End as his address, was convicted in 2019 and 2011 for indecent assault and battery, according to state records. Following his arrest he was to be transported to Dorchester Municipal Court, where the warrant for his arrest was issued.

Innocent, etc.

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Comments

I always wanted to say that guy is absolutely disgusting but I feared I would be flamed to high heaven for punching down on an innocent homeless "victim". Not to mention he appeared to be some kind of folk hero around here. Well, now I have new reason to say it. That guy is disgusting.

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Voting closed 50

I always say

"just because someone is ______________ doesn't mean they can't be a/an __________ too"

First Blank - Insert your favorite descriptor

Second Blank - Insert your favorite swear word

It works every time & so few people forget this too quick.

Edit: Edited for clarity

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Voting closed 22

a fake name--what are you afraid of?

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Voting closed 17

you were right about this guy - how many disgusting homeless people are you wrong about?

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Voting closed 18

If you are commenting as an Anon why would you be concerned about being judged harshly by others ?

This is not meant as an argument in any direction but a general logical observation.

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Voting closed 17

I'm tired of people posting here without using their name. I think I've see this guy around for at least a decade, maybe two. Clearly he has a mental illness or some type of addiction problem or a developmental disability. He probably needs help. That's all. He's still a human.

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Voting closed 20

Yes, he’s human. He’s also a convicted child rapist. I’m not interested in retribution, but I’d like to see a secure physical barrier with him on one side of it and everybody I care about on the other.

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Voting closed 18

I saw that he was a sex offender, but didn't see that specific prior conviction from this article. Everyone else would be better protected, if he had proper help and was not drifting around the streets without a home.

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Voting closed 13

I'm tired of people posting here without using their name. He did something wrong, yes, but probably he needs help. I've always assumed he's mentally ill, as people don't stand outside saying only those two words, over a decade or two or however long he's been around downtown. He's still a human. (edited)

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Voting closed 11

You can tell just by the photo, even if you’ve never met him. It shouldn’t be a shock that he’s a sex offender and it’s ridiculous to think he’s cogent enough to register. The question is why the State doesn’t facilities to help people like this who shouldn’t be on the street.

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Voting closed 16

For anyone who cares to look, there have been numerous articles and even TV news pieces on Spare Change Guy. He's not as harmless as he looks and has been known to drop the "act" and harrass young women whom happen to walk by him. He certainly has mental issues, but they're not an excuse for a lot of the things that have gotten him in trouble - harrassment, jumping the turnstiles on the T, etc.

To your point about the state providing help - agree that there's much more to be done for Spare Change Guy and many others in the DTX area, but someone needs to want help first; otherwise, there's not much the state or any of the organizations that exist to provide support can do.

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Voting closed 19

Ugh. He was on my train yesterday afternoon. He’s repellent.

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Voting closed 23

Drunk Santa on a bus eating smoked salmon through dirty fake beard is repellent. A guy asking for spare change isn't.

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Voting closed 13

.

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I mean exactly what I say. I feel disgust when I encounter him. He is a truly malevolent presence. I cannot say I feel the same way about any but one other person I see regularly on the train.

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I don't see any reference in the article to indicate that this person has any connection with the local, and highly-regarded, newspaper "Spare Change". Unless such evidence can be provided in the article, the headline should be corrected. At a very minimum, the words "Spare Change" should not be capitalized. Otherwise, this item is needlessly injuring the reputation of an important local institution.

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Voting closed 17

At the same time, however, everybody knows him as "Spare Change Guy" because he stands there, arms outstretched, going "Spare change?" - and has been doing so for a long, long time. I've never seen anybody confuse the two.

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Voting closed 95

Maybe the headline should read "Spare change guy" in quotes, without capitalizing the C [or G].

When I first saw the headline I immediately thought of the newspaper, and not of this particular individual. I am well aware of who he is, but the headline made me think the story was referring to the newspaper.

I actually feel pretty bad for Spare Change News, they've taken a huge hit in the pandemic.

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Voting closed 14

I worked at Emerson College in the early aughts and saw this guy every day. I’ll never forget the time I was at Dunks on Boylston & Tremont and he came in asking if anyone would buy him a butter crunch donut with that same raspy cadence, his voice is something else.

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Voting closed 16

guy that sometimes gives the weather report?

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Voting closed 13

I never thought to compare him to Al Kaprielian... but yeah it is kind of similar.

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Voting closed 13

For one thing, that guy is Black and Bubier is White. For another, he doesn't sound like he just ate some gravel. I'll post a recent photo of the guy who was arrested with the original post above.

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Voting closed 18

I thought the spare change guy was the one who says

"can anyone spare some chhhhhaaaaaaaaaannnnggggeeeee"

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Voting closed 26

Sounds sort of like a machine gun when he gets going, right? But he, also, is not Bubier (and I think he is actually selling copies of Spare Change).

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but what I remember about spare change guy at Downtown Crossing was, along with the arm movements, more like a loud, stretched out, scratchy version of "Does anybody here have any spare change?" I think I may have seen him on a Green Line train once or twice, which was a bit creepy. I agree wholeheartedly that everybody knew/referred to him as "spare change guy."

As to the Spare Change newspaper, there were a couple of others, but the peddler I remember most was the largish black guy on Tremont across from the Park Street station with the booming, annoyingly cheerful voice. I don't quite remember his schtick, but I think it varied a bit more that spare change guy's. Something like: "Spare Change newspaper. Buy the Spare Change newspaper. Help the homeless, etc."

Also mostly at Park Street was the guy preaching redemption through Jesus. Actually, I think there were at least two, the chubby white guy right at Park Street and the older black guy who was sometimes down on Washington Street.

Usually in the Filene's entrance to the T was the nunnish-looking lady pushing brochures about Mary, the mother of Jesus. Again, can't quite remember her exact schtick, but it was pretty consistent.

--gpm

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Voting closed 14

“Your change, a dollar , to help the work of Our Lady of Fatima “

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Voting closed 7

Weather report guy always has a kind word or pleasant rhyming commentary for everyone who passes by and is happy to chat if you stop.

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Voting closed 16

If I'm thinking of the same guy, he's Black, he's usually located farther down the common, he also gives local sports scores and schedules, and a general (and very pleasant) running commentary. And I don't recall him ever asking for money directly. He always gets money from me.

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Voting closed 31

Gilbert the Town Crier?

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I thought this was the guy that sings "change change change, does anyone have some change?" at first

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Voting closed 14

Who also gives the sports scores - and will make up rhymes about people's clothing as they walk by. Not Bubier.

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Voting closed 28

How do you register your home address if you don't have a home? If you live in the subway tunnels do you list your address as underground Boston?

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register monthly instead of annually if you are homeless. A LOT of “failure to register” cases among the homeless in the courts.

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From the movie The Commitments.
Google it. :)

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Voting closed 13

I get that he's not a wonderful person and yes I'm all for keeping track of offenders if it could be harmful to society but at this point doesn't everyone know what they need to know about him? I am always shocked at the sheer amount of paperwork and legal mumbo jumbo that makes even my eyes spin that we toss at people of very limited resources abd possible diminished capacity then seem shocked when they don't return it in triplicate notarized by five people named Janus.

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Voting closed 20

I used to work for a large human service company based in this state. Ran group homes and such. They also had lots of programs that interfaced with the homeless, including some clubhouses.

The company was a lovely company. It was nice to work (in IT) for a company that $$$ wasn't a mission, people were. Lots of people who cared about the people they served, for as little as they got paid. (Direct care workers NEED a raise.. 12/hr is not nearly enough)

But from an IT support position, as I supported the program staff and their tech issues.. was the amount of paperwork that was required. So much paperwork had to be filed in time to the state, in triplicate, and was so time sensitive that employees were infracted on delaying paperwork. I would get calls from users crying cuz their system died and they had to do paperwork. All to make sure they showed progress to keep the $ flowing.

And *all* the training we had to do (company made all staff go thru the 2 week training that the direct care staff do). I can see it.

And the same when I worked for a T contractor. I sat next to the internal contractor's QA department.. and the paperwork that was required.

My point to all of this is while its not the sex offender registry. The amount of paper the state requires sometimes is just insane. It happens in all aspects of state gov't. And we can thank the "accountability bean counters" for that. Got to have that paper trail of every penny.

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Voting closed 14

But the paperwork is there for a reason. Perhaps we need to periodically reevaluate all of it, but it exists because something caused it to need to exist.

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I’ve been in Boston since 2004 and this guy has been “spare changing” around DTX for every single one of them. Not to be incentive but this guy is fried.

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Well if you were considering going on a date or taking him home I guess this is relevant - but for those who knew enough to stay clear....

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I never comment on these boards but I have to pipe up. And my name is Denise Ghazey, I live in the South End, I’m easily accessible via fb. My first question in these circumstances is: does this man have any family members that are aware of his situation? If not, is he on the radar of any community outreach people? Clearly this man is suffering from mental health issues, and needs some support. That said, we all have an obligation to make our community safe, and dismissing him as the crazy dude that we leave alone is not the answer. I don’t have any answers myself other than government intervention and I’m open to ideas.

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The last number of times I've seen this guy (and yes, I also think of him as the "spare change guy," capital letters or not) he's often been asking for money to get to Watertown. (Or sometimes asking if anyone lives there.) I wonder what that's about?

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Voting closed 6