Sunday, December 2, 2012

Homeless, Shoe-less New York Man, From Viral Photo, Confirmed To Be A Con-Man

Two days ago, I reported how I believed the picture (above) of an NYPD cop buying a homeless man shoes, that went viral, to be a publicity stunt. (Was The Photo of an NYPD Officer Helping A Homeless Man A Publicity Stunt?)  I also noted how there were rumors that the homeless man in the picture, is a well known con artist in that area.  Today, the rumors of the homeless man were confirmed.

The New York Daily News is now reporting,

"sources unmasked the homeless man as 54-year-old Jeffery Hillman, a petty criminal who has been arrested nearly a dozen times since 1983. Most of his 11 collars are for drug possession, but others include criminal mischief and public lewdness.
A police source said Hillman is often seen strolling barefoot in the area and suspect it’s part of a scam to squeeze donations from tourists. Hillman, who last lived in a Harlem YMCA in April, could not be reached Friday for comment."

On Friday, I reported on the man:

How about the homeless man?  What is his story.  Well one website is claiming that this "bum" is a well known con man in that area, and claims "The guy sits around, as homeless people tend to do, only he's shoeless. All day long, unassuming good Samaritans and tourists buy him socks and fresh kicks. Then, after the do-gooder walks away—feeling like Johnny Philanthropist—the homeless dude takes the socks and shoes back off, stuffs them in his bag that's BRIMMING with other shoes, and begs for more. He then go on to tell me that this goes on EVERY DAY."  The website even posts a picture of a man with no shoes, who they claim is probably the same guy, shortly after this whole incident.  

Now we just have to sit back and wait for the rest of the story to be a confirmed hoax, because while The New York Daily News still reports the police officers act of kindness to be authentic, I believe otherwise.

(UPDATE: The New York Times found this man, still shoe-less, and he now says he wants "a piece of the pie" because the photo was posted online "without permission."  Also, The New York Daily News now finds that the homeless man is actually not homeless at all. For the past year, Jeffrey Hillman has had an apartment in the Bronx paid for through a combination of federal section eight rent vouchers and Social Security disability and veterans benefits)

1 comment:

  1. bravo, well said

    and this just in fm gumshoe danny

    Sunday, December 2, 2012
    Shoeless beggar in NYC photo goes viral, now questioned as fake news

    Date: Mon, 03 Dec

    Mr. Bloom,

    I was forwarded your below email. The answer to your question and response to your blog is no the photo was not set up or a fake photo. Ms. Foster was on vacation with her boyfriend [and not her "husband" as media first reported] when she took the photo. She never notified the NYPD Officer of the photo nor had she ever meet the officer before last Friday when they met for the first time on the "Today Show" in New York. I have known and worked with Ms. Foster for nearly 17 years. Her integrity is never a question. Ms. Foster is known for recognizing individuals who do good deeds whether they be one of her dispatchers or a deputy on the street.

    Tim Gaffney
    PS: She was there with her boyfriend not ''husband'' [as NYT incorrectly reported]. Her job does not involve PR and even though mine does, I didn't know anything about the conference nor did she. She was there solely as a tourist. Thanks again for clearing up this issue. Sorry if I sound defensive but if you knew Ms Foster as I do you would understand how ridiculous this allegation against her is.
    Tim Gaffney

    Director of Communications/Grants
    Pinal County Sheriff's Office
    971 Jason Lopez Circle
    Florence, Arizona 85231