D.A.: Former city detective faces new theft charges

Gerald D. Pawling accused of stealing from evidence room to pave driveway

Updated at 4:55 p.m. with comment from defense attorney

 By Kathleen Brady Shea, Managing Editor, The Times

Gerald D. Pawling, a former Coatesville Police detective, faces new theft charges.

Gerald D. Pawling, a former Coatesville Police detective, faces new theft charges.

A former Coatesville Police detective, previously charged with stealing over $40,000 from the police union and Police Athletic League, faces new felony theft charges, Chester County District Attorney Tom Hogan said on Tuesday.

Gerald D. Pawling, 43, of Caln Township, has been arrested again, this time for stealing over $7,000 from the evidence room of the Coatesville Police Department, as well as an additional amount of more than $9,000 from the union and Police Athletic League, Hogan said.

“A desperate man will engage in desperate conduct,” said Hogan. “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.”

Pawling’s attorney, Daniel R. Bush, said his client would continue to cooperate with investigators, as evidenced by several interviews to which Pawling submitted.  “However, these new charges are based on theories and conjecture that are untrue and unsupported, and we will fight those charges with everything we have,” Bush said.

Pawling was arraigned before Magisterial District Judge Jeffrey J. Valocchi, who scheduled a preliminary hearing for Feb. 27. Pawling remains free on $250,000 unsecured bail, according to court records.

Coatesville Police Chief Jack Laufer said he was once again saddened by the news. “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,” said Laufer. “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.”

Pawling worked for the police department for 17 years, retiring in 2012. In the previous complaint, the defendant was charged with stealing over $40,000 from the Coatesville Police Benevolent Association ( CPBA)  when he was its treasurer and the Coatesville Police Athletic League (CPAL), where he served as executive director.

In the new charges, the defendant is charged with stealing an additional $7,000 from the CPBA through payments on a Staples store account, the criminal complaint said. The items purchased by Pawling, the father of five children aged 11 to 20, included computer equipment and school supplies, “consistent with purchases for school-aged children;’ the defendant also is accused of stealing an additional $2,745 from CPAL to repave the driveway of his house, the complaint said.

Finally, the complaint accuses Pawling of stealing over $7,000 from the Coatesville Police Department’s evidence room, a theft uncovered when Chester County Detectives executed a search warrant at Pawling’s residence. In the bedroom of Pawling and and his wife, Stacey Pawling, detectives located two Coatesville Police Department evidence envelopes, one of which was hidden in a drawer with women’s underwear, the complaint said.

The other envelope, both of which were empty and included Coatesville Police Department case numbers and bar codes, was located in an envelope addressed to Stacey Pawling at Coatesville City Hall next to a dresser in the room, the complaint said. One envelope should have contained $5,500 and one envelope should have contained $307, the complaint said.

During an audit of the Coatesville evidence room started after the hiring of Laufer, Coatesville police officers discovered that $1,640 was missing from another evidence envelope, the complaint said. The Chester County Detectives matched two fingerprints from an internal plastic evidence bag inside the envelope to the fingerprints of the defendant; there was no reason for the defendant to have left fingerprints on that internal evidence bag, the complaint said.

“Once the defendant crossed the line of dishonesty by stealing, he never stopped,” said Hogan. “He fooled friends, colleagues, and the public for years, but now has been revealed as a common thief. The Chester County Detectives and Coatesville Police Department are to be commended for exposing the defendant’s conduct and bringing him to justice.”

The case is assigned to Deputy District Attorney Carlos Barraza, Hogan said. Anybody with further information should contact Chester County Detective Thomas Goggin at 610-344-6486. Asked whether other arrests or charges are possible, Hogan said “the investigation is still ongoing and active.”


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  1. Parkesburg tax payer says:

    tax increases are the norm over here in the ‘burg. and we barely get the snow removed . Then we have to deal with a boro manager with no municipal experience, no education , and a council of his buddies who now have given him a raise . We constantly hear the boro is broke yet they give them raises in the boro hall? and are currently working on cutting our police budget . Small government is just as ,if not worse, at least coatesville is trying ; yet still dealing with small minded individuals who think they can get something for nothing. Yes , the landlord group, that’s you.

  2. Michael says:

    I agree with you Coatesville taxpayer. We have to pay a ridiculous 37 percent increase because of the deadbeats that don’t pay at all. Once again, how can Kirby “Fraud” Hudson and the members of Council get away with this increase? It is a disgrace!!

  3. Cville tax payer says:

    Well he has to pay for that he did….now how about all the people who don’t pay their taxes in the township? Aren’t they stealing from all of us too? Maybe we should go after them. The amount owed will make this look like pennies.

    Nope they’d rather raise the taxes on the ones that pay to make up for it.

    Great system we have.

  4. cville life says:

    I feel so sorry for the family. It is a crime what desperation will drive people to do.

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