A 28-year-old Nicholson man could face as much as five years in prison and a $10,000 fine for stealing natural gas drilling equipment this past winter.

Jonathan Dale Keithline, 28, appeared before Wyoming County President Judge Russell Shurtleff, and pleaded guilty to receiving stolen property.

According to court documents, state police stopped a Jeep driven by Keithline on Feb. 18 for a motor vehicle violation on Rt. 29 in Eaton Township.

The vehicle, police said, had a sticker violation, but also was obviously overloaded.

Troopers found seven steel pipe flanges and nine steel pipe plugs for piping consistent with the type used locally in the natural gas industry.

Subsequent investigation revealed the equipment had been taken from a Linde Corporation construction yard in Tuscarora Township, Bradford County, on Feb. 17.

District Attorney Jeff Mitchell said Friday that Keithline owed the company $8,331 in restitution.

A co-defendant in the case John Jerome Morgan Jr., 27, of Meshoppen, who was a passenger in Keithline's vehicle, was also in court Friday but Morgan's case was continued without further comment.