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Nationwide Creepy Clown Hoax Comes To The Berkshires

Staff Reports
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The nationwide spree of reported sightings of menacing clowns has reached the Berkshires.
 
For months police departments across the country have been fielding calls reporting clowns making threats, chasing people, or luring children - most of which have been hoaxes. The reports have caused disruptions in schools, even prompting school closures and lockdowns on college campuses. 
 
On Monday, Pittsfield Police received two calls reporting such instances. According to scanner reports, the first call claimed a clown was chasing a person on Tyler Street. Later, a second call reported clowns on Wahconah Street, possibly with weapons. 
 
On Tuesday, Police said one of those calls was determined to be unfounded while officers were unable to locate the alleged clown in the other. 
 
"We're monitoring the situation locally and nationally, but don’t have anything further to provide at this time," Chief Michael Wynn wrote in an e-mail.
 
There were also rumors of sightings in other Berkshire towns Monday night as well, including North Adams and Adams. A dispatcher in Adams said there were no clown sightings, and that whatever alleged sightings have been circulating are just rumors. 
 
An outbreak of such reports are nothing new and seemingly arise in various parts of the country every few years - the most recent rash of such reports in 2014.
 
In August of this year, a growing number of reports were being made, which fueled hysteria in many cities and towns and leading to many copycat callers. That trend has picked up steam and in September, found its way to Massachusetts.
 
In Greenfield on Sept. 17 police fielded a report of a man in a clown costume "lurking" at the Franklin County Fairground, according to the Greenfield Recorder. Also on Monday, a dormitory at Merrimack College was evacuated after a report on Twitter that an armed clown was inside, according to the Boston Globe. In both of those cases, authorities did not find any suspicious activity.
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Witnesses Sought in Williamstown Hit-and-Run

Police are searching for a vehicle like this one in connection with the accident.

WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — Police are seeking witnesses to an apparent hit-and-run accident on Saturday on Route 7.

At about 9:30 p.m., Williamstown Police officers responded to a 911 call for an injured woman in the roadway on Cold Spring Road (Route 7), just south of the ‘6 House Pub.

Officers found Wendy McCarthy, 51, of Cold Spring Road had been struck by a southbound vehicle. Vehicle parts recovered at the scene indicate it was a 2014 Ford Escape, color black.

McCarthy suffered serious, non-life threatening injuries to the right side of her body.

Police are seeking the public’s health in identifying the vehicle involved. It may have damage to the driver’s side front, and it is missing the driver side mirror.

Anyone with information is asked to call 413-458-5733.

 

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Superior Court Briefs: Sept. 26 - Sept. 29

Staff Reports
Cases heard before Judge John Agostini on Monday, September 26.
 
Jose Liriano-Vasquez, 30, of Pittsfield was found guilty of single counts of possession of cocaine and possession of heroin. 
 
He was ordered to serve concurrent one-year sentences at the Berkshire County House of Correction. The charges stem from the execution of a search warrant at his Harvard Street home on June 18, 2015. 
 
Cases heard before Judge John Agostini on Wednesday, September 28.
 
Timothy Welch, 47, of Pittsfield had not guilty pleas entered on his behalf on single counts of breaking and entering in the nighttime, possession of burglarious tools, larceny from a building, and common and notorious thief. 
 
He was ordered to be held at the Berkshire County House of Correction on $10,000 bail. Welch is accused of breaking into the Colonial Theatre in Pittsfield on May 12, 2016.
 
Henry Brazeau, 49, of North Adams had not guilty pleas entered on his behalf on three counts of rape, and two counts of caretaker abuse of a disabled person.
 
He was ordered to be held at the Berkshire COunty House of Correction on $50,000 bail. The charges stem form an incident involving a 22-year-old woman and a 21-year-old man in North Adams between May 15, 2016 and July 20, 2016.
 
Cases heard before Judge John Agostini on Thursday, September 29.
 
Tammy Armstrong, 31, of North Adams pleaded guilty to single counts of possession of cocaine with intent to distribute, possession of heroin, using a motor vehicle without authority, operating a motor vehicle with a suspended license, and number plate violation.
 
She was ordered to serve 583 days at the Berkshire County House of Correction, with time served, on the cocaine and using a motor vehicle without authority charges. She was ordered to serve two years, sentence suspended for 18 months, on the possession of heroin charge. She was concurrent time on operating a motor vehicle with a suspended license charge and the number plate violation was filed.
 
The charges stem from a motor vehicle stop in North Adams on February 24, 2015.
 
Jason Burgos-Ledford, 24, of Pittsfield pleaded guilty to a single count of possession of cocaine with intent to distribute.
 
He was ordered to serve nine months of a two and a half year sentence at the Berkshire County House of Correction. The charge stems from a motor vehicle stop in Pittsfield on September 8, 2015.
 
A single count of conspiracy to violate drug laws was dismissed by the state.
 
Jeffrey Benoit Jr., 26, of Pittsfield pleaded guilty to two counts of burning a dwelling house, burning a motor vehicle, and burning personal property.
 
He was ordered to serve 304 days of a two-year sentence at the Berkshire County House of Correction, with time served. He was also placed on two-years probation.
 
The charges stem from a series of incident in Pittsfield on December 1, 2015.
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Pittsfield Man Drowns In Pontoosuc Lake

Staff Reports

The Fire Department was called to the scene after reports of the body in the water.
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The body of a 73-year-old man was pulled from Pontoosuc Lake on Thursday morning.
 
According to the district attorney's office, Charles Frambach, of nearby Pinehurst Avenue, was declared dead at the scene from an apparent drowning.
 
The Fire Department was called around 9:15 a.m. for a report of a body in the water.
 
Shortly after arriving, the body was pulled from the lake using a small boat ramp on Route 7 near Hancock Road.
 
Police remained at the boat ramp for some time after Frambach was removed.
 
An autopsy will be performed Friday morning by the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Holyoke. Investigators do not believe foul play was involved at this time.
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Two Accidents, No Injuries in Southern Vermont

STAMFORD, Vt. — A local woman avoided injury when her Chrysler Town and Country crashed into a tree on Saturday morning shortly before 11.

 Karen Wheeler, 57, of Readsboro was southbound on Route 100 in her 2005 van when she experienced a mechanical malfunction with her steering wheel, according to State Trooper Lauren Ronan. The van left the highway near Lincoln Road, collided with a guardrail and then a tree.  

There was extensive damage to the guardrail and vehicle, which is considered totaled. Wheeler was wearing a seat belt and no one was injured in the crash. The conditions were dry and sunny.

A second accident later that day in Pownal involved two motor vehicles but no one was hurt in that collision either.

Tiffany Rounds, 28, of Pownal was southbound on Strohmaier Road when she crashed into the rear end of a parked farm vehicle, said Trooper Ronan. The accident occurred around 2:11 in the afternoon. Conditions were dry and sunny; the road is gravel.

The 2010 Subaru Legacy incurred extensive front-end damage. The unattended 1990 International farm truck had minor damage to rear bumper.

Rounds said she was distracted by her children, who were located in the back seat of the vehicle. All of the occupants were evaluated by Pownal Rescue at the scene; no injuries were sustained in the crash.
 

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