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3 charged with tossing dead animals into Pennsylvania bar

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PITTSBURGH » Police have charged three men with disorderly conduct for allegedly tossing a dead groundhog and grouse into a western Pennsylvania tavern — but the police chief in the rather isolated borough where it occurred said in a news release that’s better than dealing with what he considers big-city crimes.

Brookville Police Chief Ken Dworek faxed a press release to The Associated Press on Friday, announcing the charges, but scrawled at the top a description of Brookville, some 70 miles northeast of Pittsburgh, as a place “where we don’t worry about being mugged or the victim of some drug dealer. In fact I don’t think we’ve EVER had a drive-by shooting.”

The (Dubois) Courier-Express first reported Friday that the men whom the chief has described as “dissatisfied customers” have now been charged with disorderly conduct for the incidents at Bill’s Bar over the weekend.

The chief said he’s received some light-hearted ribbing about the caper from friends in more urban areas, and he said unusual crimes are common, in part, because of the borough’s rural flavor.

“We had one guy who printed his own mother’s obituary in the paper because he wanted to take the day off work, when she wasn’t even dead. Another one is, we had a guy so drunk he was giving mouth-to-mouth to a dead possum on the road,” Dworek said in phone interview. “We just seem to run into that stuff up here and we get a kick out of it.”

The groundhog was tossed into the bar about 5 p.m. Sunday, before a pickup sped off. About four hours later, the truck returned and someone tossed in the dead grouse for good measure, police said.

Online court records don’t list attorneys for the suspects, Paul Plyer, 26, of Summerville, and 19-year-olds Ryan Marshal, of Brookville, and Tyler Hetrick, of Reynoldsville. The AP could not immediately locate listed telephones for the men.

The men were charged after a witness was able to identify at least one of them. When police talked to the men, they confessed that they were angry that the bar refused to serve one of the 19-year-olds, so after drinking elsewhere, they returned to harass the bar and its patrons with the animal carcasses, Dworek told the AP in a phone interview Friday.

Still, the bar incident was no laughing matter to the tavern owner, or the Pennsylvania Game Commission, which is investigating possible game violations in connection to it, Dworek said.

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