Timothy Bryant, 56, was a well-known figure on the streets of New Cassel. He often was seen pushing a shopping cart full of aluminum cans and scrap metal, which he turned in for money, said Det. Sgt. James Watson of the Third Squad, where many officers knew Bryant.
"It's very sad at this time of year and just in general," Watson said.
Bryant was found lying face down in a snow bluff about 10 a.m. by two men cutting through the Grand Street School parking lot on their way to work, Watson said.
Watson said medical examiners believe the death appears to have been caused by "exposure from the cold" but an autopsy has not been completed.
William Drew, 60, who says he knew Bryant for many years, said Bryant had been shoveling snow out of New Cassel resident's driveways and sidewalks on Sunday for money.
"I hated to hear what happened to him," Drew said.
It was unclear how long Bryant had been homeless or what drove him to the streets. A database of New York State showed Bryant had multiple criminal convictions, mostly on drug possession charges.
Nassau social services officials said they had no record of him using the county shelter system.
"A lot of times, [the homeless] don't come in for help because they're worried, they're scared, they don't know what to expect," said Patricia Rose, a caseworker on the county's homeless intervention team, which tries to find people like Bryant and persuade them to get shelter.