Contributing Writer

HOPKINTON – Thirty-five-year-old Vincent Folino of Hoboken, New Jersey, wasn’t about to pay the huge sum of $12 for one of Ernest Barber’s tires. But that decision would cost the factory cabinetmaker a whole lot more.

Late one afternoon, when Folino was driving through Hopkinton in February of 1932, he realized he needed to replace a tire on his vehicle. He left his 35-year-old wife Rose in the car with his 16-year-old daughter Theresa, 14-year-old daughter Helen and 5-year-old son Salvatore while he ventured into the service station of 65-year-old Ernest Adelbert Barber, in Depot Square.

Barber resided with his family on Maple Street and owned two service stations; the one in Hope Valley and another on the Hopkinton-Westerly Road.

When Folino explained he needed to purchase a new tire, Barber showed him to one which he said was priced at $12. Folino said that was more than he was willing to pay and asked Barber to look around the shop for something less expensive. 

As soon as Barber disappeared into another room, Folino grabbed the tire he had been looking at and quickly set it outside the station’s door. When Barber returned and told him he had nothing priced any lower, Folino again told him the $12 cost was too much, said goodbye and left.

Only a few minutes after the Folino family had driven away, Barber noticed that the tire he had shown the customer was gone. He immediately called the State Police and informed them that a theft had been committed.

In no time at all, police received a report that there was a car with New Jersey license plates broken down on the side of the road, not far from Barber’s station, that was reportedly having engine trouble. Folino apparently panicked. He gave Rose $12 and sent her back to the service station. When she arrived, she explained to Barber that her husband had mistakenly left without paying for the tire. But the excuse fell on deaf ears. Vincent Folino was arrested and arraigned before the Third District Court. He pleaded guilty to stealing the tire but pointed out that he had a clean criminal record. In his defense, his wife said he’d had a weak moment.

Due to a lack of criminal history, the court ordered that Folino be fined instead of imprisoned. He paid the amount indicated and was released. There is no record of which area service station got the stalled vehicle running for him to return with his family back to Hoboken.          

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