ATLANTA -- Officials at a downtown Atlanta hotel are looking for a homeless man who turned in a guest's stolen wallet so they can provide him with a cash reward, a room for Thanksgiving and a hot meal.
The hotel guest from France, who was in town for a medical conference, told police she was carrying a lot of things as she walked to her car Nov. 7 when a man pushed her and grabbed her purse, according to a police report. She told police she didn't get a look at the suspect.
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Later that day, a man who said he was homeless came to the Omni Hotel and said he was looking in a nearby trash can for food when he found the wallet, which contained credit cards and identification, hotel managing director Scott Stuckey said. The Omni staff returned the wallet to the woman after determining she was a guest.
Stuckey said he saw what had happened in the hotel's security log the next day and began searching for the man using the name he had given to hotel staff, Josh Crabber.
"Your heart bleeds when you hear about something like that, with a person who's going through the garbage looking for food," Stuckey said. "He did the right thing, and now I want to do the right thing for him."
Stuckey said he'd like to give the man a cash reward and also let him stay in the hotel on Thanksgiving and have a nice dinner.
He had no luck tracking the man down by name. But security footage, broadcast on a local news station Thursday, showed a man with a beard in a long camouflage jacket and dark ball cap. Since then, tips have been flowing in.
A transit police officer who works at a downtown transit hub told the hotel in an email that the man is a Vietnam veteran who often hangs out downtown. He and others who sent in tips said the man's first name is Kenny, not Josh.
Stuckey and the hotel's marketing manager Elizabeth Ergle walked around downtown Atlanta for about two hours Friday morning looking for the man.
"He found a person's wallet and turned it in, and we want to do the right thing," Stuckey told people as they showed the security camera image to homeless people, police officers and others around the transit hub, two downtown parks and a nearby homeless shelter.
Many had already heard about the man's good deed on the news.
Carl Hughley, who's studying to be a barber, said he left his book bag on the train Friday morning. When he came into class complaining about that, his instructor told him the story about the recovered wallet.
"I was like, 'Wow, maybe my book bag will be found today,"' Hughley said with a chuckle before turning serious. "He did a good job. I'm proud of this guy."