Last updated: September 04. 2014 2:56PM - 880 Views
By - elewis@timesleader.com

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PLAINS TWP. — Better late than never.

Wilkes-Barre Township Fire Chief John Paul Yuknavich showed up at his summary trial on a criminal trespass charge several hours late on Thursday.

His appearance had no effect on the verdict.

District Judge Diana Malast found Yuknavich, 51, guilty in-absentia and fined him $251 for trespassing on property owned by Joseph Naperkowski.

Naperkowski filed the summary citation against Yuknavich when he allegedly spotted him jumping a fence in his rear yard of his South Walnut Street residence shortly before midnight on May 1.

Naperkowski said he later discovered someone had punctured the lining of a new above-ground pool on his property, causing $2,500 worth of damage. He admitted he did not see the person who caused the damage to the pool liner.

The citation was initially filed with District Judge Michael Dotzel in Wilkes-Barre Township on May 23. Due to a conflict of interest, the summary trial was moved to Malast in Plains Township.

The hearing was scheduled to begin 9:30 a.m.

Yuknavich showed up just after 1 p.m. He is expected to file an appeal in county court.

In an unrelated case, Yuknavich is expected to plead guilty to theft from programs receiving federal funds in U.S. District Court on Sept. 25.

Federal prosecutors allege Yuknavich had stolen money that was intended to pay for operations and mortgage of the Wilkes-Barre Township Fire Department from 2008 through 2011.

The plea agreement must be approved by U.S. District Court Judge Edwin K. Kosik.

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