Montgomery Co. constable facing charges

April 29, 2008 3:36:07 PM PDT
He's the elected Constable of West Conshohocken, but prosecutors say Michael Solow has been running around like an outlaw... a wannabe cop, making up his own rules, throwing people out of their houses and conducting searches without warrants.Assistant District Attorney Anthony Gil told reporters Tuesday, "Constable Solow is overstepping his power, using his badge to do things he knew he shouldn't be doing."

Police say Solow slapped a no trespassing notice on the door of one house without a proper court order.

Anthony Eckstein tells Action News, "Obviously I was upset. It was a total surprise to me."

Anthony admits he was behind in his rent, but his family was locked out of their house with no warning. He says Solow left him a phone message warning him that he would be arrested if he tried to go in. He says Solow also warned him not to start asking questions. A few days later he says he found out why.

Eckstein says he called the local magistrate and was told that no one had issued an eviction order.

Eckstein says, "You go throwing families out on the street. I guess you're going too far with your job, you know?"

Solow is also charged with conducting an illegal search in an apartment in a complex in Horsham. This time the prosecutor says he brought along a uniformed police officer for intimidation value.

Until it was confiscated, Solow had been driving around in a car tricked out to look like a police cruiser. It has illegal equipment, including a red light bar above the windshield, strobe lights and a working siren.

"Seems like he wants to be like a police officer. He's not a police officer, and he should know that... He's not the law," said Gil.

The prosecutor says Solow's conduct is part of a pattern that goes back many years. Back in 1994, a woman claimed he handcuffed her for a $10 parking ticket and dragged her out of her house leaving her two little girls home alone.

Solow has also been accused of conducting a high speed chase through Lower Merion and Philadelphia and putting a loaded gun to someone's head. He's also been sued twice in Federal Court for civil rights violations.

His lawyer says he was just doing his job.

Solow's attorney, John McMahon said, "I don't think it was criminal at all. I think the man was operating in good faith trying to do his job."

The Judge disagreed and ordered Solow to stand trial on all charges, including four counts of official oppression.