A Detroit, Mich., man, who broke the Internet with his story about walking 21 miles to and from work, abruptly moved Tuesday from his rooming house after telling police he no longer felt safe in his neighborhood.
The move from his home of 15 years came after James Robertson, 56, received a 2015 red Ford Taurus and more than $350,000 from an online campaign as a result of his walking dedication to his suburban factory job five days a week.
The Detroit Free Press reports:
[He] was helped by Detroit police to move just minutes after crime-prevention specialists offered him temporary living quarters, Detroit police Capt. Aric Tosqui said.
“We had a meeting with him (and) he expressed interest that he did not feel safe,” said Tosqui, commanding officer of the 3rd Precinct…
“People were actually asking him for money,” 2nd Deputy Chief June West said. Robertson has yet to receive any of the cash, raised in just a week of Internet donations to a GoFundMe.com page, according to page creator Evan Leedy.
Robertson and Leedy, 19, are scheduled to meet within a week with financial advisers to discuss management of the funds. Fear mostly fueled Robertson’s decision.
Driving Robertson’s decision was news that last week Detroit police arrested a man charged in the killing of an 86-year-old Detroiter who disappeared in December, three days after the elderly man was said to have won $20,000 in a lottery game, police said.
“He knew about that story, and I also know about an incident in the 1st Precinct where a gentleman was killed after he allegedly won some money,” Tosqui said. “In those two examples, no one approached the department. But if somebody won the lottery tomorrow and contacted us, we would look at the situation in the same way and see what we could do,” he said.
Robertson reportedly is happy to break away from life at the rooming house and his girlfriend—the landlord “who liked to control everyone and everything,” he tells the Free Press.
After setting up Tuesday’s meeting with Robertson, Tosqui said he contacted a local businessman and asked whether he had an empty apartment that he could make available for Robertson, at no cost “for a few days,” while the native Detroiter decides where he wants to live permanently…
Robertson’s decision to move came after he confided that he was concerned about his safety, and that some of the other residents at the boardinghouse where he lived wanted a share of his windfall and threatened Robertson with violence, said Pollock, 47, of Rochester, who befriended the intrepid commuter.
Good for Robertson for assessing the situation and seeking help from the proper authorities before things went south. We wish him luck.