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The homeless man who received a pair of winter boots from an NYPD officer is explaining why he had to get rid of the gift.

Jeffrey Hillman, has been identified as the man who received what appeared to be an honest gesture from Officer Larry DePrimo, in mid-November.  Today, he’s walking around in flip-flops, because he feared for his life, and didn’t want to be robbed.

“That’s why I took ’em off,” he explained. “No one knew nothing then, it wasn’t viral.  But for the two weeks that I had the boots, before it went viral, I had ‘em on.”

Hillman continued, stating that he really had no choice but to do away with the shoes, and he’s at peace with the decision. “To me that was the smartest thing because why would I jeopardize my safety over a pair of lousy boots?”

Further inquiry into Hillman’s life found that he’s not completely homeless. Seth Diamond, of the New York City Department of Homeless Services, said that the organization has been aware of the 54-year-old for a years. “He has housing and that’s one of the most important elements for a stable lifestyle,” Diamond said.

The program of which he belongs, provided Hillman with an apartment in the Bronx. “At times he’s receptive, and at times he’s more resistant, and that’s not atypical.”

Diamond failed to reveal if Hillman is actually staying in the unit.

Photo: Inside Edition