Paxinos man, girlfriend charged with false imprisonment
KULPMONT - Christopher P. Berkheiser, 31, of 873 Airport Road, Paxinos, and his girlfriend, Katrina M. Picarella, 26, of 661 Pine St., Kulpmont, were charged by former Chief of Police Richard Wilson III with false imprisonment, endangering the welfare of a child and disorderly conduct in connection with a July 1 incident at Picarella's residence.
Berkheiser also was charged with flight to avoid apprehension, while Picarella was charged with hindering apprehension.
According to a criminal complaint, Berkheiser, who was wanted on warrants for summary and misdemeanor offenses out of Lebanon, Snyder and Union counties, was spotted on Picarella's front porch by Mount Carmel Township Patrolman Matthew Filarski, who later met Wilson at the residence. When Wilson pulled up to the home in his cruiser, Berkheiser walked into Picarella's home and refused to exit despite several warnings by police to do so.
Police said Berkheiser and Picarella locked themselves in the residence with Berkheiser's 4-year-old daughter, a 7-year-old girl and a 5-year-old boy, who both lived in the neighborhood. Police reported Berkheiser and Picarella refused to allow the neighbors' children to exit the home despite phone calls made to them by the parents of the children.
Wilson said the neighbors' children were eventually allowed to return to their homes, but were very scared.
Police said Berkheiser and Picarella refused to open the door because Berkheiser was fearful of being arrested for forgetting to pay a fine.