Man accused in house collapse has deep criminal history

The rubble of a house on Howell Street in Wissinoming that was leveled by an explosion.
The rubble of a house on Howell Street in Wissinoming that was leveled by an explosion. (JESSICA PARKS / Staff)
Posted: July 09, 2013

Update: Bail has been set at $200,000 for Michael Alfred Migliaccio,  also known as Joseph Rumor. July 23 is his next court date.

Earlier story

The man accused of causing a house collapse in Wissinoming on Saturday has an extensive criminal record including guilty pleas to sexual assault, identity theft, trespassing, and drug possession, according to court documents.

Police say Michael Alfred Migliaccio, 35, also known as Joseph Rumor, stole copper piping out of a vacant house on the 4700 block of East Howell Street, causing a natural gas leak and subsequent explosion.

The two-story house, which was recently renovated and up for sale, was leveled by the blast but did not catch fire, Fire Department officials said.

Migliaccio lived around the corner, on Van Kirk Street. He moved there less than a year ago, but already had a bad reputation in the neighborhood.

"I know him," said area resident Joe Morris. "But I don't know nothing good about him."

Philadelphia police said Migliaccio would be charged with causing a catastrophe, burglary, criminal trespass, criminal mischief, theft, receiving stolen property, recklessly endangering another person, and criminal conspiracy.

His legal troubles date to 1996 in Bucks and Chester Counties. His father, who lives in Devon, refused to comment.

In 2008, Migliaccio was charged with rape in Bristol Township. He pleaded guilty in 2011 to a lesser charge of sexual assault and was sentenced to time served and four years' probation.

He is listed in the Pennsylvania Megan's Law database as a Tier III sex offender, requiring lifetime registration.

By Sunday afternoon, crews had finished searching the fallen house. Drivers slowed to gawk at the pile of bricks, concrete, and twisted purple wallpaper, the sidewalk strewn with bits of glass and mini blinds.

Across the street, Ernest Morales chatted with neighbors and shook his head at the ruins of what had been a nice house.

"I thought a plane crashed in my front yard," said Morales, 32. He was cooking lunch when he heard the explosion, and came out in time to see the building fall.

"The windows blew out, the floors fell, and the ceiling fell right on top of everything else," said Morales. He said the roof portion of the house remained intact, atop the rubble, until inspectors came to tear through it.

The blast was felt several blocks away, but the only injuries were minor cuts from broken glass.

The house next door had several windows blown out, a crack in the ceiling, and some holes in the wall where debris struck.

"The air conditioner from the kitchen - shoom, into the living room," said the owner of the house next door, who did not want to be named.


Contact Jessica Parks at 610-313-8117, jparks@philly.com or follow on Twitter @JS_Parks.

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