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A Felton-area man accused of poaching four deer in Maryland is facing hefty fines as well as the possibility of jail time, according to the Pennsylvania Game Commission.

Vincent J. Sabatino III, 59, of the 14000 block of Cross Mill Road in East Hopewell Township, is cited with four counts of unlawful taking of game or wildlife.

The summary nontraffic citations were filed Tuesday, Dec. 19, by Wildlife Conservation Officer Justin Ritter. Each carries a sliding fine of between $400 and $800, plus up to a month of prison.

Each citation has been filled out to indicate the $400 fine should be applied, plus fees. Court records indicate Sabatino will receive a summons through the mail.

It is uncommon for people found guilty of summary offenses to receive prison time.

The citations allege Sabatino was found in possession of four unlawfully shot white-tailed deer that had been shot in Maryland — a seven-point buck, a three-point buck, a spike buck and an antlerless deer.

Sabatino didn't have a Pennsylvania hunting license at the time, the game commission alleges.

Operation Game Thief: According to a news release from the game commission, Ritter began investigating after the commission received a tip through its Operation Game Thief anti-poaching campaign.

Pennsylvania wildlife conservation officers notified the Maryland Natural Resources Police after realizing "violations" were found, and that Maryland agency filed charges against Sabatino as well, according to the game commission.

Candy Thomson, public information officer for the Maryland Natural Resources Police, said police on Dec. 15 filed charges against Sabatino of exceeding the bag limit, failing to obtain a bonus deer stamp, failing to report a kill within 24 hours, removing a deer's head/hide/parts prior to check-in, failing to take two does before taking a second buck and recording false information.

He also received four warnings, according to Thomson.

No hearing date has been set at this point in Baltimore County District Court, she said.

Sabatino's pre-payable fine if he should simply plead guilty is $2,500, Thomson said.

Grandson charged: Sabatino's grandson, 19-year-old John Lee Keenan of Windsor, was charged Dec. 14 by Maryland Natural Resources Police with hunting without a license, removing a deer's head/hide/parts prior to check-in and failing to report a kill within 24 hours, according to Thomson.

Keenan also received five warnings, Thomson said. No hearing date has been set, and his pre-payable fine is $1,500.

Thomson said Sabatino and Keenan poached the deer in Baltimore County in an area off Corbett Road.

Reached Wednesday, Dec. 20, Sabatino told The York Dispatch there were things he'd like to say about the incident but is not yet at liberty to do so.

"There's a lot more to this," he said.

To report poaching and other wildlife crimes online, visit bit.ly/PGCOGT or call the game commission toll-free at 888-PGC-8001.

— Reach Liz Evans Scolforo at levans@yorkdispatch.com or on Twitter at @LizScolforoYD.

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