WATCH: Video of Navy Veteran Allegedly Held Captive at Motel for 4 Years that Led Cops to Rescue Him
BY HARRIET SOKMENSUER
New details are emerging in the case of an 81-year-old Korean War veteran with dementia allegedly held hostage in a Highland Falls, New York, motel room for four years by a man stealing his pension and Social Security checks.
In video filmed by witness Natasha Blanc, a man police have identified as Perry Coniglio, 43, can be seen berating and forcing Navy veteran David McClellan back into a room at the U.S. Academy Motel, near West Point. Police arrested Coniglio on Tuesday, charging him with grand larceny, unlawful imprisonment and other offenses.
Coniglio is being held at Orange County jail on $15,000 bail and is expected to appear in court on July 25, ABC 7 reports. He automatically had a not guilty plea entered for him, police say. Calls to the Legal Aid Society of Orange County were not returned Thursday or immediately Friday.
"I'm really grateful that [police] took action because otherwise, no one would have," Blanc tells PEOPLE. "He would have died here."
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Navy Vet Held Captive in NY Motel Room for Years: Police
NBC News 4 New York
U.S. Navy veteran David McClellan was taken to the hospital and is in the care of adult protective servicesA New York man held an 81-year-old Navy veteran captive for four years, starving and beating him, in order to steal his pension checks for drugs, authorities say.
Perry Coniglio, 43, was arrested in Orange County Wednesday on multiple charges, including unlawful imprisonment, endangerment of an incompetent person, grand larceny and criminal possession of a weapon.
Highland Falls police said Coniglio, a motel handyman, held former U.S. Navy veteran David McClellan captive for four years at the U.S. Academy Motel, near West Point.
Police said they had gotten complaints for years that Coniglio, who was posing as the victim's caretaker, was verbally abusing the elderly man. But when video surfaced that it turned more physical, they raided the motel Tuesday night.
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