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‘Please help me!’ Man called 911, cried bear, and said multiple bears were about to attack him – all because he was very drunk and wanted a ride out of the woods: Sheriff

By Colin Kalmbacher,


Christian Leonhardt appears in a booking photo. (West Virginia Regional Jail and Correctional Facility Authority)

An Ohio man in West Virginia really wanted to get out of the woods but didn’t want to do it by himself, so he called law enforcement to repeatedly shriek about an impending attack by bears, police say.

But those bears were fake, authorities say. Those would-be beguiling bruins were actually all just imagined parts of an elaborate ruse to get a ride, officials said.

Christian Leonhardt, 47, hails from Brecksville, Ohio, and stands accused of one count of falsely reporting an emergency incident, according to the Kanawha County Sheriff’s Office.

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    The incident occurred during the early morning hours of Friday, according to a criminal complaint filed in Kanawha County Magistrate Court and obtained by Huntington-based CBS affiliate WOWK .

    First responders arrived in response to reports of a stranded man, the complaint reportedly says. Dispatchers said the man reported that he was injured and stuck on a steep terrain. During that phone call, however, the man’s apparent circumstances grew ever more dire.

    “Please help me!” the man could allegedly be heard shouting into his cellphone’s receiver. He allegedly claimed he was being attacked by a bear, the Kanawha County Sheriff’s Office wrote in the complaint.

    As the call progressed, the story did, too, authorities say.

    Dispatchers reported the man said he had been walking for days and that his phone was about to die. Leonhardt allegedly professed a fear to dispatchers that was very near death.

    On top of that, the number of bears in the vicinity had apparently multiplied. Leonhardt allegedly told dispatchers he was being circled by bears. Then, he allegedly said, he was being stalked by them.

    At some point, dispatchers told sheriff’s deputies, the man began to scream. He allegedly claimed he had some kind of a head wound and was bleeding. Dispatchers reportedly advised him to apply pressure.

    Meanwhile, according to the KCSO, various public agencies mounted a unified response. Working to locate the caller, emergency lights and sirens were used by deputies to scare away the bears and to try and alert Leonhardt where he could find those trying to help.

    Authorities were in the process of trying to procure a helicopter at some point before the incident was said and done, the KCSO said.

    Two hours later, search crews came upon their man, the complaint reportedly says. But he allegedly denied medical treatment from both fire and EMS personnel. As the accused bear-cryer made contact with first responders, Leonhardt allegedly admitted to his mixed-metaphor Aesop’s Fable, saying he just wanted a ride out of the woods.

    First responders took stock — allegedly noting the lack of any bleeding or visible injuries on Leonhardt.

    During an interview with KCSO deputies, Leonhardt allegedly said he was very intoxicated when he made the emergency call. He apologized for wasting law enforcement’s time but maintained he needed to get out of the woods.

    He was booked into the West Virginia Regional Jail and Correctional Facility Authority. Jail records show he is no longer being detained.

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    The post ‘Please help me!’ Man called 911, cried bear, and said multiple bears were about to attack him – all because he was very drunk and wanted a ride out of the woods: Sheriff first appeared on Law & Crime .

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