The panhandler who received a pair of boots from an NYPD officer last month says he likes the boots and wore them around before the story went viral, but now that everybody knows about them he doesn’t want to put them on for fear he’ll get mugged. Jeffrey Hillman was sporting flip-flops when he gave an interview that ran on Inside Edition Thursday. He’s still wearing the boots, he said, but in private. He sounded like a man who had been asked this same question several times before.
For the two weeks that I had the boots, before it went viral, I had them on. I’ve got them hidden. I told you. I told people that. They think I sold the boots. Like I said in about an hour and a half from now I’m gonna have them on … Why would I jeopardize my well being, my safety, over a pair of lousy boots?
Since Hillman and Officer Lawrence DePrimo became internet famous when a tourist snapped a photo of DePrimo giving him the boots on a cold evening in November, media scrutiny has focused on Hillman. Over the course of the story it’s been reported that Hillman wasn’t wearing his boots, wasn’t homeless, and had a pretty unsavory rap sheet. If Hillman’s comments in this video are any clue, he’s getting a little tired of explaining himself.