Man Who Received $350k After Walking 21 Miles to Work Dumps Girlfriend, Evades Would-be Robbers

Reported by Liku Zelleke

Earlier this month, James Robertson made national headlines when a storyRobertson walk to work about how he walked 21 miles a day, five times a week, to and from his job at a factory in suburban Detroit became public.

An online campaign was soon launched by a friend, Evan Leedy, 19, and he received a red 2015 Ford Taurus, as well as $350,000 from strangers who were inspired by his dedication.

One would have thought it would have meant the end of hard times for Robertson, but as it turns out, the money and car have actually brought him even more misery.

Last Tuesday, he was forced to leave his rooming house, which had been his home for over 15 years, after telling police he no longer felt safe in his neighborhood.

Robertson, 56, says he has received threats on his life and has since been given temporary living quarters by crime-prevention specialists.

Police Captain Aric Tosqui said, “We had a meeting with him… he expressed interest and that he did not feel safe.”

Robertson’s fear for his life is quite understandable considering other people in Detroit who have been victimized after coming into small fortunes. Just last week, a man was charged in connection with the killing of an 86-year-old man who disappeared in December— three days after he had won $20,000 in a lottery game.

“He knew about that story,” Captain Tosqui said. “And I know about an incident in the 1st Precinct where a gentleman was killed after he allegedly won some money.”

“People were actually asking him (Robertson) for money,” 2nd Deputy Chief June West told reporters.

Meanwhile, Robertson is doing what he can to ensure nothing bad happens to him or his money. For one, he is relieved to be out of the rooming house and away from the landlady, who also happens to be his girlfriend.

“The issue was, she liked to control everyone and everything,” he said of Tanya Fox, 60.

They continue to see each other, but she doesn’t know his new address. And although he hasn’t yet received any of the money that was collected online, Robertson has already scheduled to meet Leedy within a week to seek professional financial advice and to discuss the management of the funds.