The ex-husband of Real Housewives of New Jersey alum, Dina Manzo, has been indicted for his role in the 2017 home invasion of the ex-reality star’s Holmdel townhouse, the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office announced Tuesday.
A Monmouth County grand jury named Thomas Manzo, 56, as an accomplice to James Mainello, a resident of Bayonne. Dina’s current husband, David Cantin, was tied up and beaten with a baseball bat during the break-in at her Banyan Boulevard townhouse. Manzo willingly surrendered and is being held in the Monmouth County Jail in Freehold Township, while awaiting his Monmouth County Superior Court hearing, according to authorities. A detention hearing will likely be scheduled after his first court appearance, to determine if Manzo will be released or detained while awaiting his trial.
Thomas Manzo, a resident of Franklin Lakes, and Mainello, 53, were both charged with aggravated assault, criminal restraint, robbery, burglary and a weapons offense, and Manzo was hit with an additional charge of fourth-degree stalking.
Police responded to Dina’s residence around 10:55 pm, on May 13, 2017, after receiving a call reporting a home invasion. The Holmdel officers arrived to discover two victims who had freed themselves from zip-ties after being restrained and assaulted with a baseball bat. Police confirmed that the assailants also stole Dina’s new engagement ring and $500 in cash.
The initial investigation led to the arrest of Mainello, in May 2019. An extensive and ongoing four year investigation led to the discovery of Manzo’s involvement, which included stalking both victims. Investigators also learned of Manzo’s motive for the robbery and assault, carried out by Mainello and another assailant, who authorities confirmed remains at large.
As reported last summer — RHONJ alum, Caroline Manzo, broke her silence one day after Manzo, her brother-in-law, was arrested for allegedly paying a mobster to attack Cantin, in 2015.
“We don’t run from things like this, we address them, and I feel comfortable with that because we are being painted with a brush that does not reflect who we are as people,” Caroline Manzo said.
Thomas Manzo was arrested in June 2020 with John Perna, 43, an alleged organized criminal, in New Jersey. They were charged for planning and executing an assault on Cantin in exchange for a discounted wedding reception.
According to legal docs, Manzo was “upset” about Cantin’s relationship with his ex-wife, and “planned to have a violent assault committed on” Cantin “that would leave a permanent facial scar.”
Dina and Cantin were dating at the time of the attack.
In early 2015, Thomas Manzo “offered to hold the reception for free or at a deeply discounted price if” Perna “would commit or cause to be committed a violent assault” on Cantin, the indictment alleges.
In July 2015, John Perna and an accomplice followed Cantin “to a strip mall in Passaic County, New Jersey,” where the duo “attacked” Cantin in a parking lot, according to the doc.
John Perna allegedly “used a dangerous weapon, namely a slap jack, with the intent to inflict serious permanent injury” on Cantin.
In “return for the commission of the violent assault,” Manzo “fulfilled his agreement to hold the reception at a free or discounted price,” the documents claim.
Both men pleaded not guilty.