Suspended Chief Pleads To Disorderly Conduct

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MIFFLINBURG -- A suspended police chief in Union County has pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct.

Hartleton Police Chief Donald Zerbe admitted using a lawnmower to damage a vehicle in August.

Chief Zerbe pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct and paid a fine of $906 for causing damage to a vehicle using a lawn mower.

Zerbe says he was prepared to fight the charges when he walked into a magistrate's office in Mifflinburg. Instead he pleaded guilty to a summary charge of disorderly conduct.

The chief says he was trying to help a friend back in August by mowing that man's lawn near Laurelton.

State police say that in the process, Zerbe damaged equipment and a vehicle belonging to some workers replacing gutters on the house.

"All summer long, his mower was broke down. He's a friend of mine, so I mowed his grass for him," said Zerbe. "One contractor stopping another from working.  It shouldn't have happened and I don't have time to fight it."

Zerbe told Newswatch 16 he does not have time to fight the lawnmower case because of his upcoming trial on charges including theft by extortion.

State police say the chief gave drivers a way out of speeding tickets if they made a donation to a playground fund.

Jury selection for Chief Zerbe's theft by extortion trial is expected to start later this month in Union County.

Since May, Zerbe has been suspended without pay from his job as police chief in Hartleton.


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