Man Allegedly Held 81-Year-Old Veteran Hostage in Hotel For Four Years and Stole His Pension Checks
A New York man is accused of holding an 81-year-old veteran with dementia hostage in a motel for years and abusing him in order to collect the man’s pension and Social Security checks, according to multiple reports.
Officers arrested 43-year-old Perry Coniglio on Tuesday and charged him with grand larceny, unlawful imprisonment and other offenses for allegedly holding the Marine Corps veteran captive in a motel in Highlands for at least four years, according to CBS News.
Police said that Coniglio allegedly received three checks each month and used physical force to get the elderly man to cooperate with him, CBS reports.
Authorities said Coniglio, a handyman at the hotel, allegedly posed as the man’s caretaker; police raided the motel on Tuesday after seeing video footage of Coniglio allegedly abusing the man, NBC New York reports.
“[The video] elevated our concern for the well-being of the victim yesterday, so last night we moved in and took Coniglio into custody,” Highlands Police Detective Joseph Cornetta told NBC.
Coniglio allegedly collected the man’s food stamps and cleaned out his bank accounts over the years, according to NBC.
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The veteran was taken to a hospital and his name has not been made public, the Associated Press reports.
The veteran was allegedly held in the unkempt room while Coniglio lived next door, according to ABC 7.
“The guy who was arrested who lived next door, he was giving [the elderly man] just one bowl of cereal a day, he would stick him back in the room with a stick, wasn’t bathing him, the old guy would just be walking around here naked, just terrible,” one neighbor told ABC 7.
According to ABC 7, the elderly man, because of his dementia, allegedly told authorities he believed he was in the hotel room for about four days.
Coniglio is being held at Orange County jail on $15,000 bail, ABC 7 reports. He is expected to appear in court on July 25.
The Legal Aid Society lawyer representing the man was not immediately available for comment. It not known whether Coniglio has entered a plea.