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Berkshire Gas Reports Customers Getting Fraudulent Calls

Staff Reports

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Berkshire Gas is reporting some of its business customers are being contacted by scammers claiming they are behind on their accounts and demanding immediate payment.

According to Berkshire Gas, the callers are asking for payment by credit over the phone.
Several of the fraudulent calls have showed up as originating from 617-419-5406 in the recipients caller ID. Berkshire Gas said it has reported this information to the state police, the attorney general's office and the Department of Public Utilities.

The scam sounds similar to one last year in which callers targeted local businesses claiming to be from National Grid and demanding they purchase money cards to pay their overdue bills.  

Berkshire Gas says it never seeks immediate payment of overdue accounts by credit card, or any other method, over the telephone.  If you receive such a call, contact their customer information center at 1-800-292-5012 to report it.

If a Berkshire Gas customer ever doubts the authenticity of any call that they receive from Berkshire Gas, they should hang up and call the Berkshire Gas customer information center at 1-800-292-5012 to verify that the call was actually form Berkshire Gas, or one of its authorized representatives.

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Superior Court Briefs: July 21 - July 24

Staff Reports
Cases heard before Judge John Agostini on Monday, July 21.
Catherine Brackett, 23, of North Adams pleaded guilty to two counts of conspiracy to violate drug laws and single counts of distribution of cocaine and assault and battery on a public employee. 
She was ordered to serve one year at the Berkshire County House of Correction on one count of conspiracy to violate drug laws and one count of distribution of cocaine. She was placed on one-year probation on the rest. 
The incidents occurred in North Adams between January 1, 2013 and November 26, 2013.
Michael Cahalan, 44, of Lee pleaded guilty to three counts of knowingly possession visual material of a child depicted in sexual conduct.
He was placed on two-years probation. The incidents occurred in Lee between January 13, 2013 and February 11, 2013. A single count of dissemination of visual material of a child in a state of nudity was dismissed by the state.
Cases heard before Judge John Agostini on Tuesday, July 22.
Quintin Sumpter, 25, of Pittsfield had single counts of assault and battery by means of a dangerous weapon and assault and batter continued without a finding for a year.
The charges stem from an incident in North Adams on June 15, 2013 and involved a 42-year-old man.
Cases heard before Judge John Agostini on Wednesday, July 23.
Mario Babbs, 27, of North Adams pleaded guilty to a single count of assault and battery by means of a dangerous weapon causing serious bodily injury.
He was ordered to serve four to five years at the Massachusetts Correctional Institution at Cedar Junction. Babbs stabbed a 29-year-old man in North Adams on June 2, 2012.
A single count of armed assault with intent to murder was dismissed by the state.
Cases heard before Judge John Agostini on Thursday, July 24.
Jarrod Stanton, 36, of Pittsfield pleaded guilty to single counts of possession of heroin with intent to distribute and conspiracy to violate drug laws.
He was placed on one-year probation. The charges stem from the execution of a search warrant in New Ashford on October 9, 2012.
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Pittsfield Police Log: July 23 - July 25

Staff Reports

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Here are copies of the police log from July 23 until July 25.

Pittsfield Police Log 7-23-2014


Pittsfield Police Log 7-24-2014



Pittsfield Police Log 7-25-2014


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Pittsfield Police Log: July 19 - July 21

Staff Reports

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Here are copies of the police log from July 19 unti July 21.

Pittsfield Police Log 7-19-2014


Pittsfield Police Log 7-20-2014



Pittsfield Police Log 7-21-2014


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Pittsfield: Property Crimes High; Violent Crime Down

Staff Reports
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Typically in May, the city's police force sees an average of 15 aggravated assault cases. This year, it saw none.
That statistic highlights a shrinking level of violent crime in Pittsfield. However, property crime is still pacing at an above-average rate.
According to the city's May CityStat report, property crime was 28 percent higher than the average for that month over the last five years. Property crimes this year are on pace to be 17 percent more than in 2013.
The silver lining is that while the city is pacing ahead of previous years, the pace has slowed since April.
"Compared to last month’s report, with the exception only of larceny from motor vehicles and persons, each category has shown significant improvement. In April, only one category showed a better-than-average result, and this month, 3 categories have," reads the most recently published report. 
In April, the city was trending to see a 91 percent increase in shoplifting but that dropped in May to 50 percent. Larceny from buildings were 60 percent higher in April than last year at that time but now those numbers have reversed (from 16 to 6) and are looking to be 50 percent lower than the five-year average.
"Unfortunately, the rash of burglaries that started in April continued through May, bringing our burglary and motor vehicle larceny cases up from last month," reads the report.
Larceny from a motor vehicle is trending 125 percent more than the five-year average - up from 44 to 57 during five-month period. Burglaries in May were even higher than in April by 36 percent, uo from 44 to 60.
While property crimes continue to hold steady at above-average rates, violent crime is pacing at the lowest rate in the last five years. So far in 2014, police have responded to 34 cases of violent crime — down 35 percent from the 52 that officers responded to at this point in 2013.
Only four cases of violent crime have been reported in May — two rapes, an arson and a robbery. Both robbery and rape are trending above last year's totals but still at a rate 50 percent less than the five-year average.
"Consistent with the past several months, rape and robbery cases have shown increases since last year, but not compared to the five-year average. All other areas have either shown no change or a change for the better across the board," the report reads. "The most impressive change that can be seen is in the amount of aggravated assault cases. The average number of aggravated assaults for the month of May is 15. This May, we had 0 aggravated assaults. Moreover, Pittsfield is down 82 percent this year compared to last year for aggravated assault."
The full report is available below. April's report can be found here.

Pittsfield Police May 2014 CityStat Report

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