Middletown Police arrested Timothy Gionfriddo on Mar. 24 at the Wesley Inn and Suites on Washington St., charging him with criminal attempt to operate a drug factory, criminal attempt to possess methamphetamine and possession of drug paraphernalia. The arrest came nearly six weeks after an individual named Timothy was found keeping suspicious belongings underneath the porch of 96 Lawn Ave.
“I haven’t confirmed it [or] specifically looked into it, but I do believe it is the same person,” said Director of Public Safety Dave Meyer.
Gionfriddo was found at the Wesley Inn with the ingredients and equipment for a box lab, which is used to manufacture small amounts of methamphetamine. After a police search related to an alleged burglary, Officer William Mudano found a duffle bag in Gionfriddo’s room containing a butane cylinder, hydrochloric acid, sodium hydroxide, a beaker, coffee filters and plastic containers.
According to the Hartford Courant, this was the first crystal meth laboratory discovered in the state this year and reportedly the first to ever have been found in Middletown. Middletown police have been summoned 51 times to the Wesley Inn and Suites in the past year.
The Courant reported that there was no evidence that Gionfriddo had produced any drugs in the room. He is scheduled to appear in court Apr. 7 and is being held on bail set at $25,000.
In February, Gionfriddo spoke with residents of 96 Lawn Ave. requesting a place to stay, and was later determined to be storing several personal items under the house’s porch including a camping stove, boxes of matches, Sudafed, propane, rubbing alcohol and police apparel.
In accordance with proper protocol, the Public Safety officers at the scene called the Middletown Police Department.
“The [Middletown police] officer at the time we confronted him decided that there was not enough [evidence] to detain him,” Meyer said.
Gionfriddo was allowed to leave after being issued a warning for trespassing.
“I think what he had on his person when we confronted him was different than what he had in this case…there were a lot more things involved,” Meyer said. “The quantities were also different.”
Rachel Antler ’06, who lives at 96 Lawn Ave., feels that Public Safety handled the situation to the best of its ability.
“It became a Middletown police issue once they were there, so I don’t think blame can really be placed on [Public Safety],” Antler said.
Antler also emphasized that after speaking with Gionfriddo and Public Safety in February, she still felt safe living in her senior house.
“Had I not met [Gionfriddo] I might have been more worried,” she said. “He was our age, and he seemed honest and scared. I trusted Public Safety when they said he wouldn’t be back there. [Gionfriddo was] just trying to survive…not to say I appreciated that there was a stove, propane, and a box of matches under my porch. I was shaken up but wasn’t really afraid of him.”