I was out yesterday afternoon doing what felt like investigative journalism. It turns out that one of our "homeless next" characters, who we were profiling for an audio slide show isn't who he seems to be.
He gave us an elaborate story -- intricate and fascinating -- but when I went to meet him (as scheduled) at his job in Ozone Park, he and the address he gave me could not be found. He had mentioned his home address in a previous conversation, so I rushed over to East New York to an admittedly sketchy part of town -- desolate, abandoned warehouses and auto shops slapped against the above-ground subway.
Tom Davis was on the phone navigating me through the unfamiliar streets. But there was no apartment building for the address he gave me. Night was falling and I didn't feel safe wandering aimlessly through the neighborhood.
Tom and I knew he was not the most reliable source. He seldom answered his phone and didn't want his picture taken unless he was well-dressed. Something always seemed a bit off kilter, but I had several, long conversations with him, and asked him some of the same questions over and over again -- his story seemed consistent. Even the soup kitchen director mentioned that he came from Brooklyn to Staten Island twice a week to eat.
He hasn't returned my calls since Sunday. It just shows you that sometimes the best course of action is showing up in person. We could see his address on a Google map, we did a Lexis search and found he used one of the churches as his home address at one time.
But, his story doesn't seem to check out.
(Thank you, Shoe Leather. Love, Lisa)