Owner threatens to shoot a/c tech

August 14, 2000
/ Print / Reprints /
/ Text Size+
WYCKOFF, N.J. — Should an air conditioning service technician in northern New Jersey get combat pay? Should the tech, upon entering a building, immediately look for the quickest exit?

This is a weather-related story. It is also the story of the quirkiness of human behavior.

The East Coast has been sweltering in 90°F-plus temperatures, and qualified technicians are as valuable as gold. Understandably anxious customers often become stressed about getting prompt service performed on their cooling systems.

But what happened on Friday, July 16, gives new meaning to stress management.

Boiled over

A Sears service technician was fixing the central air conditioning unit of 78-year-old Anthony Matonti.

The tech diagnosed the problem, and confirmed that the unit needed a new motor for the air-handling unit. He started for his truck to get a replacement motor, which had been ordered a week earlier.

For some reason, this action enraged the customer, who allegedly threatened to shoot the technician. Matonti then locked the technician in the attic, where he was held briefly, then managed to escape.

“The door had one of those spring-loaded hinges, which was pretty hard to release,” said the technician, quoted in The Record, a local newspaper.

That wasn’t the end of it. Once the technician escaped, Matonti tried to grab his tool belt, but the technician managed to evade him and leave the house.

The tech then called the police, who arrested Matonti and charged him with assault, making terrorist threats, and unlawful restraint. He was released on a $2,500 bond. He refused to return repeated calls.

The technician was a bit shaken up, said police Captain Benjamin C. Fox, adding that Matonti did not have a gun.

A Sears service manager declined to identify the technician. “It is upsetting, though,” said district manager Stan White. “I’ve been with the company for 30 years, and I’ve never heard of anything like this happening.”

Why did Matonti go postal? Police are puzzled.

“Actually, it wasn’t that hot this morning,” said Fox.

Did you enjoy this article? Click here to subscribe to The NEWS Magazine

Recent Articles by Thomas Mahoney

You must login or register in order to post a comment.



Image Galleries

2014 Energy Efficiency Forum

Highlights from the 25th annual Energy Efficiency Forum in Washington, D.C.


NEWSMakers: Mark Satterfield

Mark Satterfield, founder and CEO of Gentle Rain Marketing Inc. and author of “The One Week Marketing Plan” talks about his book and the importance of HVAC blogging. Posted on Sept. 19.

More Podcasts


NEWS 09-15-14 cover

2014 September 15

Check out the weekly edition of The NEWS today!

Table Of Contents Subscribe

Venting R-22

The NEWS reported that a man received prison time for venting R-22. Should EPA step up enforcement?
View Results Poll Archive


2014 National Plumbing & HVAC Estimator

Every plumbing and HVAC estimator can use the cost estimates in this practical manual!

More Products

Clear Seas Research


Clear Seas ResearchWith access to over one million professionals and more than 60 industry-specific publications, Clear Seas Research offers relevant insights from those who know your industry best. Let us customize a market research solution that exceeds your marketing goals.


Magazine image
Register today for complete access to ACHRNews.com. Get full access to the latest features, Extra Edition, and more.


facebook icontwitter iconyoutube iconLinkedIn i con