Lake Co. man changes story about bear encounter

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SORRENTO, Fla. - A man who claimed he was sitting outside his home in the Oak Springs mobile home park in Sorrento Thursday night when a bear lunged at him, has changed his story.

He first told WFTV he had a violent encounter with the bear.

"[I was] sitting outside listening to music, and all the sudden I see a shadow go by me. I look off to the side of me and just, I thought it was somebody, and I went to meet whoever it was and it was a bear," said resident Josh Hennessy. “He got ahold of my clothes I just started punching him and he ran off. I got right in his way”

In a sworn statement, however, Josh Hennessy told wildlife officials his injuries did not come from a bear. He now says he fell while chasing a bear.

“Mr. Hennessy did see a bear walk by. He chased it up a paved road, and during this chase, he fell in the road,” said Greg Workman with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

Now, those lies could cost him.

It will be up to FWC law enforcement to decide whether Hennessy will face charges.

The report and 911 call prompted FWC to bring out a trap to the man’s yard.

Channel 9’s Karla Ray tried to ask Hennessy why he told WFTV the attack story, but he didn’t answer the door.

Neighbors said that people routinely harass the bears in the neighborhood.

Records show 34 there were 34 documented bear incidents in Lake County and one of those cases was in Sorrento.

Six beard of the 34 cases were put down.

Last year there were 19 nuisance bear calls in Lake County and three of those were in Sorrento.

Most of those bears caught were moved and one was euthanized.