New Charges: Blue Line Painter Accused Of Stealing The Paint

David Giordano (Photo courtesy Ocean County Jail)

By Bob Vosseller and Chris Lundy

  TOMS RIVER – New charges have come to light regarding a local man who wanted to show his respect for law enforcement by allegedly breaking the law to steal cans of spray paint.

  David Giordano, 43, of Toms River was arrested on March 30 for painting a thin blue line down a section of Hooper Avenue. Generally, the blue line is a way to show respect for law enforcement.

  However, there is more to the story as Giordano was allegedly seen on Home Depot video surveillance shoplifting 11 cans of blue spray paint.

  Additional charges were levied in the form of Possession of a Controlled Dangerous Substance and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia, according to Toms River Police.

  Giordano had already been charged with painting the four-inch-wide blue line between the double yellow lines on Hooper Avenue and was issued a summons for Criminal Mischief. He was also charged with Theft of Movable Property, Theft of Services, Burglary, and Criminal Mischief. 

  According to police on March 22, officers were called to Freedom Towing & Recovery on Route 9, for a report of a vehicle theft. Surveillance video showed Giordano entering the truck and driving it through the locked gate of the property. The bucket truck was found parked illegally at Toms River Town Hall in the Mayor’s parking space later that morning.

Photo courtesy Ocean County Scanner News

  The boom of the truck was extended blocking trucks from passing by. The vehicle belonged to Giordano, however it had been impounded and was in the lot for 313 days due to unpaid invoices owed for the impound and storage of the vehicle.

  Giordiano is currently lodged in Ocean County Jail. A police statement from spokesperson Jillian Messina added “while we appreciate the overwhelming support for law enforcement, we cannot condone the defacing of any property. Due to Mr. Giordano’s extensive history with the Toms River Police Department and justice system, it was necessary to take this course of action.”

  Previous to this, Sheriff Michael Mastronardy had suggested painting a thin blue line down Hooper Avenue to show support for law enforcement.

  The color blue is not legal on public roadways and the recently painted blue line was soon covered over by members of the county road department. The blue line was painted between the double yellow lines in the center of Hooper Avenue, in front of the Ocean County Justice Complex.

  Many residents posted to social media in support of the sheriff’s blue line proposal.

  Ocean County Commissioner Director Gary Quinn told that “while all five of us on the Board of Commissioners were in favor of the blue line our professional staff had advised us against it.”

  A recommendation from the Office of the Ocean County Engineer as well as the county’s Risk Management Division alerted the Board that blue lines violate regulations on pavement markings that are standardized by the New Jersey Department of Transportation and the Federal Highway Administration.

  “Given this information, we discussed it and it would open the county up to potential legal liability” in the event of accidents.

  Quinn said the discussion amongst the Board included the idea of ordering flags “that would be put along the roadway of both sides of the road. We’re also talking about a blue light on the Sheriff’s Office building. We want them to know they are well respected and we want to honor them throughout the county.”

  The flags would be flown along Hooper Avenue from Washington Street to Madison Avenue in Toms River.

The unauthorized blue line was painted over. (Photo courtesy Ocean County Scanner News)

  Quinn confirmed that the “thin blue line flag” of the Blue Lives Matter movement – which is essentially a black and white American flag, with a bright blue horizontal stripe just below the canton, would not be displayed. This is due to the fact that any American flag, including one that was altered, would have to be lit at night.

  Another factor is that the thin blue line flag has been connected to controversy since the attack on the U.S. Capitol on January 6 where it was shown to be used like a spear to attack police officers.

  Municipalities have authorized the painting of blue lines on roads throughout the state in order to show support of their local police departments and law enforcement in general since 2016.  

  The thin blue line represents a symbolic barrier maintained by police between civilization and lawlessness. However, following the death of George Floyd in May 2020, the lines drew criticism by those who proclaimed such symbols are now offensive and conflict with the Black Lives Matter movement.