Man accused of Morristown car vandalism spree gets probation

Thomas Mina, left, in Superior Court with his lawyer, John Mills III, Oct. 1, 2018. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
Thomas Mina, left, in Superior Court with his lawyer, John Mills III, Oct. 1, 2018. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
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A Morristown man charged with slashing tires and keying the paint on approximately 20 of his neighbors’ vehicles will emerge with a clean record if he completes a two-year probationary program.

Thomas Mina, 59, was allowed on Monday to enter “pre-trial intervention” by state Superior Court Judge Thomas Critchley.

Thomas Mina, foreground, leaves courtroom with probation paperwork, followed by his lawyer, John Mills III, and Public Defender Sean O'Connor, Oct. 1, 2018. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
Thomas Mina, foreground, leaves courtroom with probation paperwork, followed by his lawyer, John Mills III, and Public Defender Sean O’Connor, Oct. 1, 2018. Photo by Kevin Coughlin

Conditions include restitution of $13,735, payable in monthly installments of $250, to owners of vehicles damaged on the evening of June 4-5, 2018, in the parking lot of the Convent Mews condos in Morristown.

The amount did not sit well with some of Mina’s victims sitting in the courtroom on Monday.

“This is despicable,” said Lou Sodano, who estimated three vehicles owned by himself and his wife sustained at least $17,000 in damage, including four slashed tires.

Residents said they paid hundreds of dollars in insurance deductibles to repair the damage, which they anticipate will result in higher premiums.

“What a waste of time,” said Paul Williamson, who filed a $3,700 insurance claim to replace two rear tires and repair his keyed paint.  Karen Cutaneo said all four tires were ruined on her new Mercedes, and paint was scratched on the top and all four sides of the car.

The restitution figure was based on documentation provided by victims, said Morris County Assistant Prosecutor Shane Overgaard.

Convent Mews residents express disagreement with probation terms for an accused car vandal with Morris County Assistant Prosecutor Shane Overgaard, center, Oct. 1, 2018. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
Convent Mews residents express disagreement with probation terms for an accused car vandal with Morris County Assistant Prosecutor Shane Overgaard, center, Oct. 1, 2018. Photo by Kevin Coughlin

Morristown police said Mina admitted to committing the vandalism. He was charged with several counts of criminal damage, possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose, and unlawful possession of a weapon.

Other conditions of Mini’s pre-trial intervention include no contact by him with any of his victims.

“Any inappropriate, willful violations could result in you getting kicked out of probation,” to face his charges, Judge Critchley told Mina, who sat quietly through the brief proceeding.

Mina also is barred from returning to Walmart, where he was charged in May with shoplifting. He has made restitution to the store, according to his attorney.

The defendant agreed to waive a grand jury review, submit to probationary supervision and to continue unspecified treatments.

“For a period of months and years, he was on prescription medication. I believe a combination of medications caused him to lose touch with what’s right and wrong,” said Mina’s lawyer, John Mills III.

Mina, who appeared in court wearing a brace on his left arm, now is “completely free of any medication,” the attorney said. “He has pain, but he is enduring it as opposed to suppressing it.”

Neighbors said Mina sued the complex after falling on the grounds some time ago.

They also said a SWAT team responded to his condo shortly after the vandalism incidents, when neighbors reported sounds like gunfire. A water leak from inside his unit subsequently damaged neighbors’ basements, they said.

Mills suggested a “false report” was to blame for the SWAT response. And he said Mina believes someone broke into his condo and turned faucets to overflowing as “an act of revenge,” causing water damage to Mina’s unit.

Superior Court Judge Thomas Critchley, left, addresses accused car vandal Thomas Mina, center, and his lawyer, John Mills III, Oct. 1, 2018. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
Superior Court Judge Thomas Critchley, left, addresses accused car vandal Thomas Mina, center, and his lawyer, John Mills III, Oct. 1, 2018. Photo by Kevin Coughlin

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