The homeless man participating in a highly-publicized software coding tutorial was arrested earlier this morning by the NYPD. According to NYC programmer and self-proclaimed entrepreneur Patrick McConlogue, "Journeyman" Leo was arrested for trespassing in a city park within the confines of the 10th Precinct, which includes Chelsea. McConlogue tells us Leo was "picked up for sleeping on a bench that he normally doesn't sleep on." NYC Parks are closed from 1 a.m. to 5 a.m.
The timing is unfortunate—McConlogue and Leo are scheduled to appear on The Today Show Wednesday morning to talk about their project. McConlogue discovered that Leo was arrested when he went to meet him for their daily tutorial. "His hat was there and his coffee was knocked over, so I knew something happened." A friend of Leo's directed McConlogue to a nearby traffic cop who saw the arrest, and he confirmed that Leo was in custody at the 10th Precinct station house.
McConlogue says he was told that it could be days or even weeks until Leo is released, depending on a number of variables. And it may be even longer until he gets the laptop back. McConlogue showed officers the receipt for the laptop he purchased for Leo, but without the serial number the NYPD will not turn it over. "They have to bring it to some processing center, which takes more time," he says. "We can't prove ownership."
In August, McConlogue anounced that he would offer Leo, a homeless person he frequently saw on his way to work, $100 or the opportunity to learn how to code. Leo chose the latter, and for the past couple of months McConlogue has been teaching Leo all about coding. He tells us it's been going well.
"Saturday was a high point," McConlogue says. "We went to a social good hack-a-thon, and the whole goal is that you donate your time as a coder and build a tool in 24 hours that solves an online education challenge. It was a great day, and we are on track for launching his mobile app in the next couple of weeks."
The app, called Trees for Cars, tracks the Co2 emissions you save by carpooling. "Leo is an environmentalist," McConlogue tells us. "He's good, he really is. We'll continue lessons no matter what, even if he's locked up I'll go down there, wherever he is." On the collaboration's Facebook page, Leo, who lost his job at MetLife in 2011, wrote that McConlogue "told me I could have a laptop and learn how to do something and I figured it could turn into something more. It’s not like I don’t have the time to learn to do it."
In addition to the Wednesday's Today Show appearance, McConlogue is meeting with a "MAJOR book publisher" to tell his and Leo's story.