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More charges for Coatesville cop accused theft

WPVI-TV/DT, 6 ABC Action News,

Coatesville, PA

Gerald Pawling

COATESVILLE, Pa. - January 8, 2014 (WPVI) -- Gerald Pawling, a former detective for the Coatesville Police Department who was previously charged with theft, was arrested Wednesday on more charges of stealing.

Pawling, 43, was originally charged with stealing over $40,000 from the police union and Police Athletic League while serving as treasurer.

The new charges accuse the 17-year veteran of stealing over $7,000 from the evidence room of the Coatesville Police Department, as well as an additional amount of over $9,000 from the union and Police Athletic League.

A press release quoted Chester County District Attorney Hogan as saying, "A desperate man will engage in desperate conduct. When the defendant fell into financial difficulties, he took care of his problems by stealing from his fellow officers, a charitable organization, and even the police evidence room."

A statement from Coatesville Police Chief Jack Laufer reads, "The City of Coatesville and the Police Department are once again saddened by the subsequent arrest of former officer Pawling. As before, Pawling's criminal conduct is a betrayal of the trust that the public willingly grants to its police in exchange for the ability to feel safe in their homes and communities. The investigative assistance provided by the Chester County District Attorney's Office and the County Detectives has been instrumental in the continuing investigation into the criminal conduct of Pawling."

Investigators say Pawling was living above his means, with luxuries such as a leased horse, a pool, a hot tub, a big screen TV and a theater room complete with a movie-style popcorn machine.

"This kind of makes it personal for a lot of the officers. He was essentially taking money right out of the paychecks, right out of the pockets, of his fellow police officers," said Chief Jack Laufer.

Prior to the latest charges, Pawling's attorney, Daniel Bush, said his client was a good cop who served 17 years on the force.

"This man has lead a lifetime of service, he did a lot of good work for the people of Coatesville and nothing in this case minimizes that," Bush said.

But Hogan said a crime is a crime and Pawling is no exception.

"The message here is simple. Chester County law enforcement and the District Attorney's Office don't care what you do for a living, we don't care who you are. If you commit a crime, you will prosecuted," Chester County District Attorney Tom Hogan said.

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