This is why we can't have nice things. Once upon a time the entire world savored a semi-heartwarming Bart's People story about an NYPD officer buying a pair of $100 boots with his own money and giving them to a poor homeless beggar in Times Square. For a brief moment, a simple-minded World Wide Web felt a little less down about cops and humanity (and we got a ton of page views). Then along came the reporters.

First we learned that the "homeless" man in the photo, Jeffrey Hillman, was still walking around barefoot and purposefully not wearing the boots given to him by Officer Lawrence DiPrimo on that cold November night. He told the Times, “Those shoes are hidden. They are worth a lot of money." He then asked, "I was put on YouTube, I was put on everything without permission. What do I get? This went around the world, and I want a piece of the pie."

Hillman in the South Plainfield High School yearbook.

Then yesterday NBC New York reported that Hillman wasn't homeless, either—he's an Army veteran who has an apartment in the Bronx. “He does have stable housing," Seth Diamond, New York City's homeless services commissioner, said. “We’ve worked with Mr. Hillman for years.” Now the NY Post takes us to the next level of sad reality.

"Hillman’s arrest history in New York and Pennsylvania stretches back to the early 1980s," sources tell the tabloid, which reports that in a single year (2002), Hillman was arrested for harassment, menacing, criminal mischief, reckless endangerment, possession of stolen property and resisting arrest. Before that, there was a charge of possessing a controlled substance, and in 1998 a charge of public lewdness for allegedly masturbating in front of numerous people in Hamilton Heights. (THAT would have been something to blog about.)

Hillman, 54, served in the Army as a food service specialist starting in 1978 and was honorably discharged five years later. It's still unclear what happened to get him to the dark place where he is now. A childhood friend, Rev. John Graf Jr., says Hillman was a "fun-loving guy" who disappeared after the Army. His brother Kirk Hillman, whom the Star-Ledger describes as "a church elder" in Pennsylvania says his door is always open to Jeffrey, but adds, "You can only do so much. You can lead a horse to water."