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Baldwin Borough councilman is charged after stealing mulch at park

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Wednesday, Aug. 28, 2013, 9:01 p.m.

A Baldwin Borough councilman will face charges for stealing half a cubic yard of mulch from a municipal park to augment the flower bed adjacent to his home.

Baldwin police charged 18-year Councilman John “Butch” Ferris, 68, with theft by unlawful taking and receiving stolen property last week, after he admitted to taking industrial grade mulch from Colewood Park because he couldn't find a similar color available in stores. The charges were filed on Aug. 15 by summons, police Chief Michael Scott said.

“You learn from your mistakes,” Ferris said Tuesday.

The councilman said he plans to seek an attorney's advice on how to plead.

“It's embarrassing,” Ferris said of his actions.

A preliminary hearing is scheduled in front of district Magistrate Pat Capolupo on Oct. 9. District Magistrate John Bova, who oversees Baldwin Borough, recused himself from the case, Scott said.

Ferris, who chairs the borough's public works committee, publicly apologized for the theft at a council meeting on Aug. 20. He returned the $11 in mulch to borough police, he said.

“I shouldn't have done it. It's not my mulch. It's your mulch,” Ferris told residents in attendance at the council meeting.

Stephanie Hacke is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-388-5818 or

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