A Bethlehem man allegedly held his girlfriend against her will for several hours Monday night after he learned of her plans to leave him, according to court records.
City police broke up the tense and violent scene and apprehended Miguel Cotto, 35, of 81 W. Garrison St., after getting multiple calls from a concerned friend of the victim, court papers say.
According to Bethlehem police, the friend had received a text message from Liza Alvarado that said: “Call Police.”
The friend, Amy Smith, told police that Cotto had been violent with Alvarado several times in the past, according to the affidavit. She also told police that Alvarado has told her that if she sends her “any message indicating that she was in trouble, that she could possibly be in danger.”
According to court records:
- Bethlehem police first arrived at 81 W. Garrison St., Apartment B, at about 9 p.m. after the initial call from Smith. But despite calls to the inside of the apartment, there was no response. Police noted that the inside of the second-floor apartment appeared to be lit and they could hear whispering from the inside.
- Police left the scene after failing to find a landlord to provide a set of keys to get inside the apartment.
- Arresting Officer Brian Quinn wrote that he spoke to Smith at 10:30 p.m. after she had left a message. Smith said she remained worried about Alvarado. She said she received the text message at 8:35 and had not been able to contact her since.
- Police returned to the apartment at 11 p.m., this time with a key from a building maintenance person. As the front door was opened, Alvarado appeared there “visibly shaking and crying,” telling police that Cotto had left.
- Outside the building, other officers on the scene spotted Cotto on the roof trying to elude police. Cotto used a rock to break a third-floor window on a neighboring apartment building and tried to get inside before he was captured.
- Alvarado told police that she was in the process of breaking up with Cotto and they were having an argument about it. He then kept her from moving around the apartment by standing in her way and yelling at her to sit down.
- At one point, while she was gathering clothes, Cotto grabbed Alvarado by the throat and began to squeeze. He then pushed her back and away.
- When police came to the scene at 9 p.m., Alvarado said, Cotto prevented her from moving around the apartment. He also forced her to sit at her computer and buy airplane tickets to Florida, so she could go live with her mother. “Cotto told her that if she is not going to be with him, then she needs to leave the state.”
- Alvarado dashed off her text to Smith while she was in the bathroom. Cotto would not let her close the door while she was in the bathroom, but she had her cell phone in her pocket and was able to conceal it from him while she sent the text.
Cotto was charged with criminal trespass, simple assault, criminal mischief, criminal attempt and false imprisonment. He was arraigned before on-duty District Judge Patricia Romig-Passaro and committed to Northampton County Prison after failing to post $25,000 bail.