Orchids to Tough Magistrate
Not long ago we told the story about Magistrate John A. Massiello of Paterson, N. J., who fined a man $500 and a year in jail for sounding ten false alarms. He also slapped a $50 plaster on another chap for causing a fire by smoking in bed.
Now Magistrate Massiello has again made the headlines, and further endeared himself to the hearts of Paterson firefighters, notably Chief Hobart Strathearn, by fining two painters each $250 for taking jewelry during a fire in that city on Sept. 4th last.
The fire occurred at 9:30 A.M. in a millinery store on the first floor of a three story building in the downtown section of Paterson. It was a smoky “worker” and all occupants had to be evacuated in a hurry, some being taken down aerial ladders.
Two Newark, N. J., painters Theodore Nelson Festa 31, and his employer Charles Dingott, 56, were painting the upper floors at the time of the fire, and left with other tenants. After the department had knocked down the smoky blaze, these men returned after being given permission to pick up their cloth paint spreads.
Noticing the office of an engraver open, they entered and appropriated some jewelry. They returned to Paterson the day after Labor Day and were picked up by Paterson police, grilled, and later confessed.
Brought before Magistrate Massiello, they were fined $250 each despite pleas for leniency from the owner of the engraving firm. Magistrate Massiello said the men had committed a grievous offense and he did not intend to encourage similar looting by showing them any leniency.