Melbourne: The barefoot, ‘homeless’ man who made headlines when a NYPD officer was photographed giving him a pair of boots has his own apartment and 30 pairs of shoes, it has been revealed. Officer Lawrence DePrimo was hailed a hero after a passerby photographed him handing barefoot Jeffrey Hillman a warm pair of boots and socks on a freezing November night in Times Square last year.

His kindness act later went viral on Facebook. The allegedly faux homeless man was caught on tape by a New York Post reporter counting a huge wad of bills "with the dexterity of a bank teller" while riding the subway from Times Square to his home in The Bronx.

Just days earlier, the 54-year-old man was confronted by another media reporter as he took cash from strangers on Sixth Avenue while barefoot with a 'HOMELESS' sign strapped to his back. The family of the man said they had no idea the vagrant in the photo was their relative, according to the media.

But local clergyman Rev John Graf, who has known Hillman since the pair was at primary school together, claims Hillman keeps no less than 30 pairs of shoes stashed at his flat and earns up to 1000 dollars per day on the street.

Rev Graf said he also takes care of his friend's utility bills and buys him phone cards. Asked about the 100-dollar all-weather boots Officer DePrimo gave him on November 14 in Times Square, Hillman said he had hidden them away because "they are worth a lot of money."

Hillman also told the Post that he never asks anyone for cash or gifts and that people simply fork the money over when they pass him.


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