A Conneautville man who got caught growing marijuana in a neighbor’s field last year and subsequently stole a trail camera to try to cover up his crime has been sentenced to probation.

Fred A. Field, 59, was sentenced Friday by Crawford County Court of Common Pleas Judge Mark Stevens to a total of two years of probation plus $350 in fines and court costs.

Field pleaded guilty in county court in April to possession of a controlled substance and theft filed by Pennsylvania State Police. Stevens ordered Field to serve 12 months of probation and a $150 fine on the possession charge and 12 months of probation and a $200 fine on the theft count. The probation sentences are to be served consecutively.

Field could have received up to one year in jail and a $5,000 fine on the possession count and up to two years and a $5,000 fine on the theft count, but he had no prior criminal record.

Field had six marijuana plants growing in a neighbor’s field in Spring Township in 2018 which were discovered by the neighbor, according to Paula DiGiacomo, first assistant district attorney. The neighbor subsequently put up two trail cameras to determine who was tending the plants with one camera in plain view and another hidden, she told the court.

Evidence from the hidden camera showed Field taking the camera in plain view, DiGiacomo said. 

“It’s an embarrassment to me and my family,” Field told Stevens prior to sentencing.

The judge said while it wasn’t the “crime of the century” it still was a big deal because growing marijuana in Pennsylvania, unless licensed by the state, is a crime.

“You know it’s a big deal because stealing the camera (to cover up your actions) is proof you know it without saying a word,” Stevens said.

Keith Gushard can be reached at 724-6370 or by email at kgushard@meadvilletribune.com.

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