WILLIAMSPORT — It was all a hoax.
That’s what police in Lycoming County are saying about the man who told officers he woke up yesterday with no recollection of who he was or how he ended up in Jersey Shore.
55 year old Michael Gebhart says he was desperate and made a bad choice, and now Friday afternoon he found himself in court for lying to police.
He told authorities that Thursday he decided he needed help — after being homeless for the past six weeks. He said he was on his way to Jersey Shore when he came up with the plan to fake memory loss.
“What happened? I got in trouble,” Gebhart said.
Gebhart showed up at a hospital in Jersey Shore claiming he had memory loss. The Tiadaghton Valley Regional Police spent nearly 10 hours trying to find out who he was and where his family lives.
“Tied me up,” said Sergeant Brian Fioretti of the Tiadaghton Valley Regional Police. “The media was a big help with them in solving who he was. He had nowhere to go. He was desperate and that’s what I explained to him. I mean there are other resources we could have used instead of what we did.”
On his way to the courtroom, Newswatch 16 asked Gebhart if he lied.
“Yes, I have no place to go so I’m homeless…” he said.
After using all his savings, he found himself evicted from his house in Muncy. Gebhart has been staying at a hunting cabin in Tioga County for the past 6 weeks — that is, until this past week.
“I was coming down Jersey Shore to see if I could get some help, and the idea came up for the hospital instead of police,” Gebhart said. “I didn’t think the police could help me, so…”
“I apologize for all the manpower that was wasted,” he added.
Michael Gebhart is in jail, and his bail was set at $25,000 dollars.
He is charged with false reports to law enforcement.