By David Madden and Matt Rivers

COATESVILLE, Pa. (CBS) — A veteran member of the Coatesville Police Department is charged with theft, accused of stealing money from his own union.

Gerald Pawling, 42, worked for seventeen years on the Coatesville police force, and everyone concedes he did a lot of good.

But when he took over as treasurer of the local chapter of the Police Benevolent Association, he started skimming money, according to Chester County DA Tom Hogan.

“This isn’t a case where he stole money because he was addicted to drugs,” Hogan said today.  “This isn’t a case where he stole money because he was off gambling it away.  He simply was living beyond his means.”

Examples included a swimming pool surrounded by a wooden deck in the backyard, high-end electronics, and a leased horse to ride.

Authorities say Pawling’s total take over 3+ years was more than $46,000.

Pawling’s attorney confirms that his client is cooperating in the probe, and hopes Pawling’s good work isn’t forgotten as this case plays out.