Transient Honored in Phoenix for Returning Wallet With Cash

Usually, when cops talk to Rodney Hapney, 42, it's because they're arresting the transient for trespassing or some other minor, though troublesome, offense. Police went looking for Hapney yesterday for a different reason -- to thank him.

Hapney, who lives occasionally in a homeless shelter at 35th Avenue and Buckeye, recently found a wallet containing a Department of Corrections badge, ID, credit cards, and cash. After he turned over the wallet to a police officer, and the victim was reunited with the wallet, cops learned that not a single buck was missing.

Phoenix police officer Jerry Paprocki "was so amazed by these developments that he immediately went out to find Mr. Hapney" again, says a police write-up of the good deed. Paprocki submitted a memo recommending Hapney for an award.

Yesterday, the homeless man received the "Good Citizens" award, presented by Phoenix police Commander Benny Pina.

Today, Hapney's probably wondering what the heck he was thinking.

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Ray Stern has worked as a newspaper reporter in Arizona for more than two decades. He's won numerous awards for his reporting, including the Arizona Press Club's Don Bolles Award for Investigative Journalism.