William Mattingly’s car exploded outside his house at 4 o’clock in the morning. His housekeeper, the first to leave the house and see the car in flames, noticed a man standing in the trees nearby. She shone a torch on him and he ran away.
A stick of dynamite or a heavy charge of powder had been placed on the car’s gas tank and ignited. Mattingly couldn’t imagine why anyone would want to blow up his car, and couldn’t think who might have done it, but the police questioned him until they came up with a suspect: Carl Van Houten, with whom Mattingly had “had some difficulties over a bill.”
Carl was arrested on a charge of malicious mischief by use of explosives. He pled innocent, but was found guilty and got a $1 fine and two to four years in the penitentiary.Sources: New Castle News (26 Oct 1938, “Charge Attempt To Wreck Auto”; 29 Dec 1938, “Court Imposes Heavy Penalties”).