"Thanks to the decency and honesty of a person that most likely could have used the cash -- for food, shelter or any other number of reasons -- the wallet and cash were reunited with its owner," Detective Lt. Thierry Croizer posted for the department on Facebook.
Hassel "Junior" Barber, 50, who sleeps in midtown Kingston doorways and is often seen searching for bottles and cans to convert into cash, told police when he turned in the wallet "he felt bad that someone had lost money and knew that returning it was the 'right thing to do,'" Kingston police said in a follow-up Facebook posting.
Both postings can be found at tinyurl.com/UPI-Kingston-Police.
"I looked at the wallet and I seen money," Barber told the Times Herald-Record of Middletown. "I didn't bother to count it. It wasn't mine. I didn't want it."
"It's that type of honesty and integrity we should all follow," Timothy Halpin, who owns a Kingston auto repair shop, wrote on the Kingston police Facebook page Wednesday. "Mr. Barber is leading by example. We should all take notice."
After Croizer posted the deed online, police in Kingston, a Hudson Valley city 90 miles north of New York City, were flooded with calls from people wanting to help Barber, but Barber declined the offers, police said.
"He said that he does not need or want any reward, he just wanted to 'do the right thing,'" the department said on Facebook.
"Many times we make judgments because of another person's appearance or circumstances," Croizer wrote, urging city residents to "keep an open mind and not make that rush to judgment."
"Let us all try to live by what [17th century French poet] Jean de La Fontaine said, 'Beware, so long as you live, of judging men by their outward appearance.'"