Lehigh Valley

Man locks girlfriend in bedroom, threatens to 'take her out,' police say

Victim alleges he threw her phone of a moving car

BETHLEHEM, Pa. - Authorities allege a Bethlehem man locked his girlfriend in their bedroom for hours, at one point flashing a knife and threatening to “take her out.”

The victim told Bethlehem police that the hours-long incident began to unfold on May 8 as she and her boyfriend, James S. Cruciani, drove from the 2200 block of Riverside Drive to their apartment in the 300 block of East Goepp Street.

The victim said she and Cruciani began arguing, prompting him to start speeding, according to court records. Her 10-year-old and 8-year-old children were in the car, and she told police that she was concerned for their safety because Cruciani had allegedly been drinking earlier in the night, according to records.

The victim said she tried calling 911, when Cruciani allegedly hit her in the face and threw her cell phone out the car window. Police said records also show his driver’s license is suspended.

Once the couple arrived at their East Geopp Street home, Cruciani allegedly locked his girlfriend in the bedroom from about 9:30 p.m. to shortly before 1 a.m., when she called 911. During the night, Cruciani allegedly brandished a knife and threatened to harm her. The victim said he also cut up some of her clothing and urinated on them in front of her.

Cruciani allegedly punched his girlfriend in the leg and face and bit her fingers. Police arrested him about two hours later in a shed in the Steel City area of the city, where the couple had been earlier in the night.

Authorities charged Cruciani with three counts of aggravated assault and single counts of terroristic threats, simple assault, false imprisonment and harassment. District Judge Roy Manwaring arraigned the 25-year-old May 8, setting bail at $10,000 with a 10 percent cash option if approved by pre-trial services.

As a bail condition, the judge ordered that Cruciani remain drug and alcohol free and provide a verifiable address. He failed to post bail and was sent to Northampton County Prison to await a preliminary hearing scheduled for June 14.


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