Museum director charged with criminal mischief for cutting realtor’s Christmas lights

Milford. Lori Strelecki, the longtime director of the Pike County Historical Society’s Columns Museum, has been charged with $2,700 in damages at the McAteer and Will Real Estate property.

| 13 Jan 2022 | 10:45

Lori Strelecki of Milford, director of the Columns Museum for the past 21 years, has been charged with criminal mischief and disorderly conduct, class D misdemeanors.

Milford Borough Police Chief Matthew McCormack arrested Strelecki after investigating the incident, which is described in a Jan. 4 police criminal complaint signed by Magisterial District Judge Deborah Fischer. According to the complaint, Strelecki entered the McAteer and Will Real Estate property at 402 Broad Street in Milford Borough at around 6:51 a.m. on Dec. 16 and proceeded to cut “several strands of Christmas lights with a knife, rendering them inoperative.”

“All of this action was captured on surveillance video from 402 Broad Street,” says the complaint.

After viewing the video, Sergeant Jack DaSilva of the borough police “was able to positively identify Strelecki as the actor in the video.” The police then asked Strelecki to come in for an interview.

Strelecki came to the police station on Dec. 30. “She was advised of her rights and agreed to give a verbal statement to Sergeant DaSilva,” in which Strelecki admitted to cutting the lights, the complaint said.

Pike County District Attorney Ray Tonkin agreed to McCormack’s request that a warrant be issued for Strelecki’s arrest.

The damage is estimated at $2,700. Will & McAteer provided a detailed estimate for the repairs, according to the complaint.

Neither Strelecki nor any representative from McAteer and Will Real Estate could be reached for comment before press time.

Milford Borough Mayor Sean Strub said he never comments on open cases.

The Columns Museum, which is owned by the Pike County Historical Society, has been a center of community life under Strelecki’s watch. It is home to musical recitals, children’s holiday parties, the Milford Farmers Market, and historical re-enactments, among other cultural events. The historical society’s many innovative programs include the Lenape exhibit that opened last fall with presentations by members of the Delaware and Stockbridge-Munsee tribes, and “Tunes Along the Towpath,” an all-day musical fundraiser held last summer at Lock House 16, a recent historical acquisition on the Lackawaxen River.

The police criminal complaint defines the charges:
A person is guilty of criminal mischief if he or she “damages real or personal property of another.”
A person is guilty of criminal mischief if, “with intent to cause public inconvenience, annoyance or alarm, or recklessly creating a risk thereof, he creates a hazardous or physically offensive condition by any act which serves no legitimate purpose of the actor.”
“The acts committed by the accused...were against the peace and dignity of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.”