LEWISBURG, Pa. (AP) — A jury has found a central Pennsylvania police chief guilty of theft by extortion for telling motorists they could avoid traffic fines if they made donations to a borough playground fund.

But the jury in Union County on Tuesday found Hartleton Police Chief Donald Zerbe not guilty of other charges including conspiracy.

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Prosecutors claimed Zerbe offered 33 drivers such a deal over the last five years.

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Those who donated money to the playground fund — instead of paying fines and other costs that went to the borough, county and state — had their citations erased from their driving records.

Defense attorney Hank Clarke says the chief was simply using an innovative idea that was good for the drivers and the community.

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