Last Update: 12/3/2012 10:20:00 AM
City animal hoarder held man, 72, in her home, police say
A city woman was charged Friday with holding a 72-year-old man captive in a locked room in her residence from July to September.
Mary Lou Petrucci, 55, is accused of keeping Harold Scheaffer in the room with access to a bathroom in her home in the 1500 block of Mineral Spring Road.
Petrucci was arrested after animal welfare agents rescued six cats, two raccoons and a dog from her house. Police said Petrucci also hoarded animals, some in cages and others roaming freely around the home.
Police said Scheaffer told them on Oct. 19 that Petrucci locked him in the room beginning in July. He could not recall the exact dates.
According to police:
Scheaffer and Petrucci had been dating and he moved into the house in 2010. Scheaffer said Petrucci lived on the second floor, and he was held on the first floor.
Petrucci brought Scheaffer food once a day but provided no other care.
The two broke up shortly after he moved into the house.
Scheaffer's daughter, Lynanne Scheaffer, learned Sept. 13 that her father was locked in the room. She helped her father escape to an undisclosed location.
On Friday, Harry D. Brown III, executive director of the Animal Rescue League of Berks County in Cumru Township, said Petrucci already has cost the league more than $100,000 in medical expenses to treat 22 stray cats seized at her home June 29.
Brown said the agency received a tip that Petrucci, who was free on bail in the first animal-hoarding case, continued to keep animals.
"This is just so sad," Brown said as he put a raccoon into his van.
Petrucci was arraigned before District Justice Michael J. Leonardziak on charges of false imprisonment and recklessly endangering another person. She yelled incoherently as she waited to be transported to Berks County Prison, where she's being held in lieu of $100,000 bail.
Leonardziak said Petrucci also owes $12,000 in fines for other offenses.
Police said an investigation continues into the most recent hoarding case.
Petrucci is awaiting trial on 25 previous animal-cruelty charges
Contact Holly Herman: 610-478-6291 or firstname.lastname@example.org.