Hatfield man accused of lying about being robbed held over for trial
A 22-year-old Hatfield man who admitted to making up a story about being robbed at gunpoint in Centennial Park has been held over for trial in county court.
William D. Graef III, of the 2000 block of Oak Road, will be formally arraigned March 27 at the Montgomery Court of Common Pleas in Norristown on misdemeanor charges of unsworn falsification to authorities and false reports to law enforcement authorities.
Graef represented himself at his preliminary hearing Wednesday morning before District Judge Kenneth Deatelhauser.
He told the judge he did not wish to testify, but he offered a letter stating that he is in treatment.
Officer Daniel Tinneny of the Hatfield Township Police Department testified that Graef called 911 about 6:55 p.m. Jan. 23 at his mother’s urging after he arrived home and told her he was robbed while walking past Centennial Park on Cherry Street in the borough.
Officers picked him up at his home and brought him to the station for an interview. Graef told police he was walking home from his job at Paradise Manor, a personal care home on East Lincoln Avenue, when he was grabbed from behind, forced under a bridge and robbed of $98 and a full pack of cigarettes, Tinneny said.
Graef said the alleged mugger had tan skin and was between 6 feet and 6 feet 4 inches tall and wore a black hooded sweatshirt, work boots and jeans. He described the gun as “a 1911 World War II-style handgun,” Tinneny said.
Graef was able to escape when the gunman became distracted by a noise, he told officers, and he kicked the man and his gun two times before running away.
Investigators and Montgomery Township’s h-9 unit searched the area where Graef claimed the robbery took place but couldn’t find any evidence.
Due to some inconsistencies in his story and problems with the report, Tinneny called Graef Jan. 25 and asked him to come to the station.
“I spoke to him regarding my doubts, and he immediately acknowledged the reports were false,” Tinneny said. “He said he made the report up to explain how he burned through his money and lost some of it, and needed an excuse as to why.”
Deatlehauser allowed Graef to remain free on $10,000 unsecured bail pending his formal arraignment.
William D. Graef