Local man who made false terrorism report now faces prison time

Hershman, 58, pleaded guilty to airplane piracy

Published  7:12 AM HST Jun 14, 2013
Timothy Hershman
HONOLULU -

A local man who made a prank phone call to the FBI about a plane hijacking is now facing time in federal prison.

Timothy Hershman, 58, says he was angry at his tenant for throwing fish guts in his truck bed.

So on Jan. 17, he called the FBI from a pay phone and gave them the name of his tenant, and said he was "a dangerous man who was going to hijack a plane from Kona to Alaska."

That triggered a major response, even bringing in fighter jets based in Portland, Ore. Pilots escorted the plane and its passengers to Seattle.

Hershman's tenant was stunned when agents pulled him out for questioning. Passengers had no idea what was going on.

"The only thing I saw was when the police was on the airplane and asked the lady next to him to get up and they took him outside," said passenger Victoria Southland.

On Thursday in federal court in Honolulu, Hershman pleaded guilty to one count of airplane piracy.

The first thing he told a judge, "I'm sorry. It was stupid. I'm guilty."

Hershman now faces up to five years in prison and some hefty fines, including restitution to the U.S. government.

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