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Officials say barefoot man in viral photo is not homeless

Posted at 9:45 PM, Dec 04, 2012
and last updated 2012-12-04 21:45:27-05

The picture of a New York police officer giving boots to a barefoot, homeless man was a  snapshot of compassion that went viral on the internet.

Now, reports are surfacing that the shoeless man, a 54-year-old veteran, captured in the photo may not be homeless.

New York Daily News reported that the man has an apartment in the Bronx paid for through a combination of federal Section 8 rent vouchers and Social Security disability, in addition to veterans benefits.

Officer Larry DePrimo said he just knew he had to help. He’s the officer seen in the photo giving the man boots, on a cold November night.

A tourist, Jennifer Foster, sent the photo to the New York Police Department, who put it on their Facebook page. The photo and story have been shared 219,668+ times and liked 612,634 times on the NYPD’s Facebook page.

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