Ex-Officer Accused of Stealing From Union, Evidence Room

A retired southeastern Pennsylvania police detective charged earlier in the theft of tens of thousands of dollars from a police union is facing additional charges.

Authorities in Chester County last year accused 43-year-old Gerald Pawling of Coatesville of stealing $46,000 from the Coatesville Police Benevolent Association while serving as treasurer.

Pawling, who retired from the force in 2011, allegedly wrote a series of checks from the union and athletic league bank accounts. Police say he then deposited those checks to his bank account and the account he shares with his wife. Authorities said that his wife apparently was unaware of the thefts.

After Pawling retired, investigators say the police bank accounts were audited and other officers began managing the money for the athletic league and union. That’s when, police say, an officer noticed the large amounts of money deposited into the former officer’s accounts.

District Attorney Thomas Hogan said Wednesday that the former Coatesville officer has now been charged in the theft of more than $7,000 from the police evidence room as well as more than $9,000 from the union and Police Athletic League.

Pawling retired from the force in 2012 after almost 20 years on duty. Hogan said that Pawling was a respected and trusted officer who was living beyond his means and used his position in the union to swipe thousands.

Police say they began investigating Pawling in April of this year and searched his home twice in July. 

During those searches bank records, computers and other items were confiscated, according to  search warrants obtained by NBC10.

Investigators also uncovered some of the lavish things that Pawling allegedly purchased including a pool and family room that included a large flat-screen television.

A message left with Pawling's attorney seeking comment was not immediately returned Wednesday.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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