Attorneys for a Plum Borough physical education teacher charged with burglary and corruption of minors say the claims are the result of a family issue and are made up.
“This is absurd. It’s preposterous,” said attorney Phil DiLucente, who represents Oblock Junior High School teacher Michael Verrico. “It’s like saying that I am Santa Claus, and all of a sudden, now I’m Santa Claus, so get ready for Christmas because I’m delivering presents.”
Police said Verrico, 47, brought his wife, Heather Verrico, and a 17-year-old with him when, according to investigators, he broke into his neighbor’s home.
Police said the group stole sheets, five suits, a broom and a washing machine.
“This is baseless. This is a complete fabrication of reality,” said attorney Nicole Nino, who represents Heather Verrico.
“Heather is many things. She’s a loving wife, she’s a nurturing mother, she parents Mr. Verrico’s children very well, she’s a diligent student,” said Nino. “This was a private familial matter that was wrongfully taken to the Plum police, basically to just perpetuate this fairy tale that these witnesses have created.”
According to court papers, when the Verricos realized that police were investigating, they dismantled the washing machine and disposed of the evidence.
“Let’s be clear, he did not go in that house with anyone, steal suits, a washing machine,” said DiLucente. “I mean, we’re not talking about jewelry — a washing machine. Where is this washing machine? Is it on the grassy knoll? I’d like to know where it is because it doesn’t exist.”
The couple is charged with burglary and tampering with evidence. Michael Verrico is also charged with corruption of minors.
Plum Borough School district officials confirmed that Michael Verrico has been placed on administrative leave.
“After reviewing the complaint, the alleged incident occurred outside the scope of the individual’s professional duties and is no way related to any district responsibilities,” the school district said in a statement.