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.

READ MORE: CDC's New Mask Guidance In Schools Creates Tense Moments At Central Bucks Board Meeting

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

READ MORE: 'Everyone Keeps Passing The Buck': Tree Threatens Philadelphia Family's Home With No Help In Sight

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.

MORE NEWS: Garden State Parkway Service Areas To Be Renamed After These 9 New Jersey Icons

(© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)