Former detective waives hearing on theft charges

Gerald Pawling is accused of stealing $46,509 from police union

By Kathleen Brady Shea, Managing Editor, The Times

Gerald D. Pawling (left) is shown with his attorney, Daniel R. Bush, at his arraignment.

Gerald D. Pawling (left) is shown with his attorney, Daniel R. Bush, arriving for his arraignment last month in Caln district court.

A former Coatesville Police detective waived his preliminary hearing Wednesday on eight counts of forgery and 51 counts of theft-by-unlawful-taking in Caln district court.

Gerald D. Pawling, 42, who worked in the Coatesville Police Department for nearly 17 years before taking early retirement in May 2012, became the focus of an investigation in April after an accounts review of the Coatesville Police Benevolent Association (CPBA), which Pawling had headed.

“Mr. Pawling’s waiver of the hearing today is just a continuation of his efforts to cooperate with the District Attorney’s office which began at the outset of their investigation, “ said Daniel R. Bush, Pawling’s attorney.

Chester County District Attorney Tom Hogan had no comment about the waiver, but he previously called Pawling’s arrest a “sad day” for police and prosecutors.

Chester County Detectives executed two search warrants at Pawling’s Caln Township residence on July 24 and 25. According to the search warrants, Coatesville Det. Kevin Campbell, who over the presidency of the CPBA, found “a pattern of suspicious payments” when he checked the books – numerous unauthorized checks to Pawling and his wife, Stacey Pawling.

According to the criminal complaint, Pawling was interviewed by detectives on Aug. 6 and admitted that he stole money from the CPBA and forged the signatures of fellow officers in the process.

Prosecutors allege that Pawling, the father of five children and a former youth coach, was living beyond his means and used CPBA funds when he was strapped for cash. He is accused of stealing $46,509 from CPBA.

According the sentencing guidelines, the standard penalty for forgery is probation to one month in prison. Pawling also faces four counts of felony theft-by-unlawful-taking, which carries a standard range of probation to nine months, and 47 counts of misdemeanor theft-by-unlawful-taking, which is probation to one month in jail. Prosecutors have declined comment on whether they would seek a prison term.

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