Police have arrested one of two suspects who allegedly attacked a “Real Housewives of New Jersey” star and her then-fiancée and stole a $60,000 engagement ring during a brutal home invasion two years ago, prosecutors say.
Two masked intruders attacked and robbed Dina Manzo and David Cantin inside their Holmdel house in May 2017, leaving Cantin with a broken nose and Manzo with facial injuries, prosecutors said.
Prosecutors on Friday said James Mainello, 51, of Bayonne has been arrested in connection with the attack.
Mainello faces charges including robbery, burglary, aggravated assault, theft, possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose and criminal restraint, the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office said. His attorney information wasn’t immediately available.
Mainello has no known connections to organized crime, but he does consider himself a "wise guy," according to law enforcement sources.
Cantin told investigators he and Manzo had just gotten home on May 13, 2017 when one of the suspects charged at him with a baseball bat and attacked him, according to an affidavit provided by prosecutors.
Manzo told investigators one of the suspects pushed her against a wall, covered her mouth, threw her to the floor and kicked her before taking her engagement ring off her finger.
The engagement ring was valued at more than $60,000, the affidavit says.
"That’s what you get for f---ing with a guy from Paterson,” the suspect said to her, according to the affidavit.
The two suspects then secured Manzo and Cantin to the floor with zip-ties, the affidavit says.
Along with the engagement ring, the suspects took $500 in cash, a driver’s license and a credit card from Cantin’s wallet, according to the affidavit.
Cantin, who described one of the suspects as an “Italian guy with a North Jersey accent,” managed to escape the restraints after the suspects left the home and called 911, the affidavit said.
"Dina and David are obviously shaken up from the traumatic and violent home invasion and robbery," the pair's attorney Andrew B. Brettler said in a statement after the home invasion.
"No one should ever have to go through what they did. They are grateful to law enforcement and the other emergency responders and appreciate everyone’s concern and well-wishes."
Manzo appeared on the first two seasons of the reality TV show before leaving the series. She returned for the sixth season in 2014, then left again. Prior to that she tried to launch her own series about party planning called "Dina's Party" on HGTV; it was canceled after two seasons.
Cantin, a New Jersey native, blazed new trails in the car dealership industry with his financial and business acumen and became co-owner of one of the largest dealerships in the world.
He was diagnosed with leukemia several years ago and directed philanthropic energies toward battling pediatric cancer.
This story has been updated to reflect information received from the victims' attorneys, removing language suggesting a motive for the crime. They also issued the following statment:
"We are so grateful to the New Jersey law enforcement authorities, whose diligent investigation over the last two years culiminated in today's arrest. Thank you to everyone who has expressed concern for our well-being. We've had such a great support system."