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Down-and-out homeless man finds backpack containing $42,000. Turns it in to the police. [UPDATE]

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Authorities in Boston are praising a homeless man for a heroic act of honesty after the down-and-out man turned in a backpack stuffed with nearly $42,000 to local police. The homeless man found the backpack, stuffed with cash, travelers’ checks, and passport, in front of a T.J. Maxx inside South Bay Mall in Dorchester. The man immediately flagged down police officers and turned in the backpack. Police were contacted less than an hour later by a mall customer reporting he’d lost a backpack “containing a large sum of money”. The rightful owner was identified by his Republic of China passport and the property was returned to him.

“Homeless people,” said Boisselle, a former western Massachusetts landscape designer who has been on the streets since 2005, “know what it’s like to be down and out.”

UPDATE 9/18/13: An online fundraiser to collect money for that Good Samaritan, who we now know is named Glen James, had raised nearly $64,000 as of 9:20 a.m. ET Wednesday.  The “Boston Homeless Man Reward” campaign was launched by Ethan Whittington of Midlothian, Va., who hasn’t met James, but felt compelled to see if other Good Samaritans would “help this man change his life.”  James was honored this week by the Boston Police “for his extraordinary show of character and honesty.”

The Boston Globe noted that James had worked at a courthouse for 13 years as a file clerk, he said, before being fired. On Monday, the courts could not immediately confirm his employment. James could have gotten another job, he said, but he suffers from an inner-ear disorder that causes prolonged vertigo spells.”

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