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Caught on camera: Accused Berks Co. animal hoarder collared

By John Craven, Reporter, JCraven@wfmz.com
Published On: Apr 12 2013 07:00:00 PM CDT
Updated On: Apr 15 2013 05:15:26 AM CDT

A woman who's no stranger to the law is back in jail.

READING, Pa. -

A Reading woman who is no stranger to the law is back in jail.

Mary Lou Petrucci has been in the news a lot over the past year, first for animal hoarding charges, then for allegedly holding her elderly ex-boyfriend hostage.

This time, a judge says Petrucci skipped out on her latest court hearing. 

69 News spoke exclusively to the bounty hunters who nabbed her.

 Ace Bail Bonds captured Petrucci outside a York County bank on Friday.

"She took off on us," said bail bondsman Marcel Centeno.  "She was in York County."

 They said Petrucci did not give up quietly.

"Very argumentative," said bondman Edward Bogan.  "She didn't do it.  She didn't miss court.  We were wrong; she was right."

It's a long way from Reading, where Petrucci was supposed to be in court Tuesday. 

She's accused of holding 72-year-old Harold Scheaffer hostage for weeks, all while hoarding animals inside her Mineral Spring Road home.

 "We tried to get in contact with her through her daughter, who signed on the bail," said Centeno.  "We gave her 24 hours to comply, to turn herself in."

Ace found Petrucci by running surveillance on her daughter.

Petrucci's arrest in December was actually the second time she was busted for hoarding animals in the past year.  In June, authorities removed 20 cats, six rats, five hamsters, and four dogs.

"The conditions are terrible," said Harry Brown with the Animal Rescue League at the time.  "No human should have to live like that, and no animal should have to live like that."

 In a video provided by Ace Bail Bonds, you can hear Petrucci maintain her innocence.

"You know there was a mistake, because there was a thing," she yells at bondsmen.

"In her eyes, she doesn't do anything wrong," said Centeno.

Bogan added:  "Her boyfriend-- it was his fault.  Everything was his fault."

On the video, Petrucci proclaimed her innocence throughout the arrest.

Petrucci:  "So nobody said anything about this being postponed?  I was told I got a court date on the 15th, the 17th, and the 19th."

Bail Bondsman:  "You missed court.  You missed court, Mary."

Petrucci:  "I didn't!"

Bail Bondsman:  "It's been all over the news, Mary."

Petrucci:  "I know it's been on the news, but it's not correct."

Petrucci is still in the Berks County Prison.

This isn't her only legal problem, either.  Petrucci faces a stack of code violations for her house in Reading.