Man Admits Hoax to Avoid Gambling Debt

United Press International

A Memorial Stadium groundskeeper who devised an elaborate hoax in an effort to get out of a $15,000 gambling debt wound up getting shot in the hip and facing criminal charges, police said Friday.

After telling investigators that the debt was run up by a Baltimore Orioles’ baseball player and paying a friend $125 to shoot him in the leg, Joseph Thorn, 21, confessed to police that the incident was planned so his bookie would forgive the debt.

Thorn initially told police, who interviewed him at his hospital bedside, that he was to meet a man outside the stadium to pay an unnamed player’s gambling debt.

Thorn told police that the man instead suggested the two split the $15,000, and when he refused, he was shot in the right hip.


The allegation sparked an investigation by police that turned up no evidence of gambling activities involving ballplayers or any member of the Orioles’ organization.

What really happened, police said, is that Thorn ran up a $15,000 gambling debt he could not pay. He had told the bookmaker that the bets were being made by a player.

Thorn wanted to be shot in the leg so he could tell the bookie the player’s representative was angry and suggest that the debt be forgiven.