PITTSFIELD, Mass. — In the past few day, the Police Department has posted on Facebook numerous requests for information regarding local missing teenagers. In the last 10 days, there have been eight juveniles reported as missing or runaway.
That, of course, triggered alarm among many fearing there was some type of outbreak of abductions or a trend. But, on Thursday, the Police Department said that isn't true.
The department had used Facebook to gather leads on several missing teens. Seeing success, it kept using Facebook to get the word out in hopes to find the other missing juveniles.
"The decision to make the recent posts was made by the investigating detectives in an effort to generate leads and based on recent success. For example, one of the missing teens was located with 24 hours of our Facebook post," wrote Capt. Jeffrey Bradford.
"The social media post reached 46,157 people and was shared 1,228 times. While the circumstances of these cases cannot be released, the information gathered by our department does not point to a specific public safety risk. Although we are always concerned when a juvenile's whereabouts is not known by their parent or legal guardian, and our detectives treat these cases seriously, the recent number of reports is not unusual or out of the ordinary for our community."
Of the eight reported missing, which police say is a normal number of reports, six have already been found and two reported on Wednesday remain missing. The department has since deleted posts regarding the missing teens who were found.
"The purpose of this press release is to inform the media and public that our department has not received any information that these teens have been victimized or that the individual reports are connected," Bradford wrote.
The department also clarified its terminology when saying a juvenile is "missing" or is a "runaway." Missing is a term used to describe individuals who have not been in contact with family or friends for an unusual amount of time and runaway is a juvenile who said he or she had no intent to return to parents or legal guardians.
"In many cases, it is not clear which category best describes a specific juveniles situation. As a result of this the words 'missing' and 'runaway' are commonly used together," Bradford wrote.
State Police Seek Information on Credit Card Fraud Suspects
The State Police Detective Unit assigned to Hampden District Attorney Anthony D. Gulluni's office is seeking the public's help in identifying three individuals authorities believe to be involved in numerous credit card fraud cases in Western and central Massachusetts, Connecticut, and possibly Rhode Island.
The credit card fraud took place in March 2017. The suspects traveled to numerous Walmart stores and used stolen credit card information to make fraudulent purchases worth thousands of dollars. The suspects traveled together in a white Ford expedition EL (extended length) SUV at the time, which may have been a rental car with possible Rhode Island or other out-of-state registration plates.
If you think you recognize any of these individuals in the photos, call the Massachusetts State Police Detective Unit, (413) 505-5936, or utilize Text-a-Tip by texting the word CRIMES (2-7-4-6-3-7) and type the word SOLVE into the body of the message followed by your tip.
Photos of the alleged suspects and the vehicle of interest are included with this post.
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — A city teen was arrested early Friday on firearms charges after dispatchers received multiple reports of shots fired in the area of Francis and Danforth avenues.
Pittsfield Police patrol officers, detectives, and anti-crime units responded to the area and encountered two individuals, one of whom was found to be in possession of a handgun.
Jason Sefton, 18, was arrested and charged with carrying a loaded firearm without a license and possession of ammunition without a firearm identification card. He was arraigned in Central Berkshire District Court early Friday afternoon.
No injuries were reported, and there is no known threat to the safety of the general public as a result of this incident.
Detectives are investigating reports that a vehicle, believed to be involved in the incident, fled the area prior to the arrival of Officers. A full investigation is being conducted by the Pittsfield Police Detective Bureau.
Anyone who may have witnessed, or who may have information about this incident, is asked to contact the Pittsfield Police Department Detective Bureau at 413-448- 9705. Information can also be provided anonymously via the Detective Bureau, the Drug Tips hotline at 413-448-9708, or by texting PITTIP plus your message to TIP411 (847411).
Searchers Recover Body of Missing Pittsfield Man in State Forest
LENOX, Mass. — Investigators do not suspect foul play in the death of a missing Pittsfield man whose body was discovered Wednesday afternoon in October Mountain State Forest.
The body of 33-year-old Matthew J. Gottung was found about 3 p.m. Wednesday approximately 50 yards off Switchback Trail. The location of the body was not far from where Gottung's vehicle was discovered Monday.
Those involved in the search included members of the Lee and Lenox Police and Fire departments, Berkshire Mountain Search & Rescue, state environmental police, Berkshire County sheriff's office, state police from the Lee barracks and assigned to the Berkshire district attorney's office.
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — A city man was arrested for inappropriately grabbing a woman on Robbins Avenue, according to police.
But it isn't clear whether he is responsible for other assaults reported in recent weeks.
Edward Jennings, 30, of Pittsfield was arrested on Tuesday after allegedly grabbing a woman as he walked past her. Police say at about 1:45 p.m., officers were called to the Christian Center for the reported assault and later found Jennings walking on Linden Street.
"The victim positively identified this individual as being the one responsible for assaulting her. The suspect, Edward Jennings of Pittsfield, was arrested and charged with one count of indecent assault and battery," wrote Capt. Jeffrey Bradford in a release issued Wednesday afternoon.
Police say at this point, it isn't known whether Jennings is responsible for four other reports of groping or accosting women. In recent weeks, olice have received multiple reports of women being groped while out walking or running.
The Police Department reminds residents to "remain vigilant and to contact them if they observe any suspicious persons or activity."