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Boston homeless man glad to turn in lost money

A homeless Boston man who turned in a backpack containing tens of thousands of dollars in cash and traveler’s checks said even if he were desperate he wouldn’t have kept “even a penny.”

Glen James was honored yesterday at police headquarters, where Commissioner Edward Davis thanked him for his honesty and gave him a special citation.

James said in a handwritten statement given out at a news conference that he was glad to make sure the bag and its contents were returned to the owner. “Even if I were desperate for money, I would not have kept even a penny,” he said.

James found the backpack at the South Bay Mall in the city’s Dorchester neighborhood Saturday evening. He flagged down patrolling officers and handed it over.

The backpack contained $2,400 in U.S. currency, almost $40,000 in traveler’s checks, Chinese passports and other personal papers.

The man who lost it told workers at a Best Buy store at the mall. He was taken to the police station, where he was confirmed as the rightful owner.

James, whose age wasn’t immediately available, said in his statement that he is from the Boston area and has been homeless since 2005. He said he worked in a courthouse for 13 years but lost his job because of difficulties with his boss.

He said he has a medical problem that sometimes causes dizziness, and lives at a Boston-area shelter where he says he is “very well looked after.” James said he is a religious man and God has always looked after him.

He also thanked the strangers who have given him spare change on the street.

“It’s just nice to have some money in one’s pocket so that as a homeless man I don’t feel absolutely broke all the time,” he said.

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