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Man charged with passing fake checks in Slatington

Published March 01. 2010 05:00PM

A Lehigh County man has been charged with passing fake checks to pay for his dinner at two restaurants in Slatington, police said.

Those were the charges brought forth against August D. Gebhardt, 34, of 4381 Hilldale Rd., Washington Township, during an arraignment Thursday before District Judge Rod Beck of Slatington.

According to an affidavit of probable cause filed by Slatington police officer David Alercia:

Alercia said Donna Pituch, the restaurant owner of Donna's Cafe at 20 Main St., Slatington, came into the police station at 1:48 p.m. on Jan. 28.

At that time, Pituch stated that on Jan. 15, a male came into her cafe with a food to-go order in the amount of $103.35, the affidavit says. She gave the male the order of food and received a check in the same amount.

At the time of purchase, Pituch believed the check to be authentic, and then went to cash the check on Jan. 21. However, Harleysville National Bank couldn't cash the check, stating they were unable to locate an account for the check provided. They further advised the check which was passed to be fraudulent.

OnFeb. 19, Alercia went to the Lehigh County Prison, where Gebhardt was incarcerated on another charge, and advised Gebhardt of his rights, which he waived in writing. Pursuant to waiving his rights, Gebhardt gave an oral statement and also a written statement admitting to the forgery and theft.

According to a second affidavit of probable cause filed by Alercia:

On Jan. 16, Slatington police officer Daniel Buglio received a complaint from Doulat Miah, the owner of the Slatington Diner at 662 Main St., Slatington, according to the affidavit.

Miah stated Gebhardt had came into his diner to pick up an order of food he called in, the affidavit says.

Gebhardt passed a fraudulent check in the amount of $114.84, taking the food with him that he had ordered. Miah then went to cash the check he received to discover from the bank that the check was fraudulent.

Buglio then contacted Gebhardt, advising of the pending investigation, and Gebhardt started to pay Miah back by giving him $65 in cash.

On Jan. 27, Alercia was contacted by Chief Schuler of the Lehigh Township Police Department, Northampton County, of an investigation they had with Gebhardt.

Then, on Jan. 28, Alercia received another investigation involving Gebhardt and learned that he had been charged by Bethlehem State Police and was incarcerated at Lehigh County Prison.

Alercia then went to the prison to interview Gebhardt. Once he made contact with Gebhardt, Alercia advised him of his rights, which he waived in writing. Pursuant to waiving his rights, Gebhardt gave Alercia an oral and written confession to passing the fraudulent check.

Gebhardt was charged with theft by deception, receiving stolen property, and forgery for each charge. He is under $30,000 straight bail in each case.

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