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Cops: Teen councilman stole GOP campaign signs, damaged crop field in drunken joyride

Michael Kubel / The Morning Call

Alburtis Councilman-elect Kyle Bower poses in front of his home in Alburtis on Dec. 8, 2011.

Alburtis, Pa., Councilman Kyle Bower, 19, is in trouble with the law again, this time being accused of stealing campaign signs of Republican candidates and going on a drunken joyride through a Pennsylvania crop field, according to local media reports.

Bower, a Democrat who was sworn in to the Alburtis Borough Council in January despite a criminal record that included stalking and escape charges, faces one felony charge – agricultural crop destruction – and various misdemeanor charges  in connection with the latest alleged escapade, according to reports in The Morning Call and The Express-Times.

Bower is accused of stealing three campaign signs – one for GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney and others backing U.S. Rep. Charlie Dent and state Rep. Ryan Mackenzie – from a neighbor’s property on Oct. 4. Police say he then drove his car through an acre of a soybean field in neighboring Lower Macungie Township, causing $595 damage.

The election signs, along with two bottles of beer, were found in the vehicle, which was abandoned in the field, according to The Morning Call.

"I started off the evening of Oct. 3 at my friend's house in Alburtis," Bower told police, according to court papers cited by the newspaper.  "After leaving his residence, I took my car to the area of Smith Lane in Lower Macungie. There is when I started driving my Camry through the fields. After about 10 minutes in the field, my car bottomed out in an embankment."

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Bower was sworn in to office on Jan. 4, just hours after he pleaded guilty in a Lehigh County courtroom to escape and stalking charges for throwing a brick through his ex-girlfriend's window and slipping out of handcuffs during an alcohol-related arrest, according to The Morning Call. He was sentenced to probation.

Bower told the judge at the time that he had an alcohol problem in the past but was now sober and receiving treatment.

"I really am a different person," Bower said at the time, according to The Morning Call. 

After the latest run-in with the law, Alburtis Council President Steve Hill said he plans to ask Bower to resign.

"If he doesn't resign, I'm going to ask him to resign," Hill said Tuesday, the newspaper reported. "He's now a distraction.

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