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Multiple Berkshire County Schools Subject Of Bomb Threat

By Andy McKeever
iBerkshires Staff
LANESBOROUGH, Mass. — Numerous schools were the target of bomb threats Thursday afternoon triggering responses from police and fire departments.
 
Pittsfield Police Chief Michael Wynn said targets were identified in five communities but he did not reveal which ones. 
 
"There was a timeline given in the call and an indication that the caller would make another call," Wynn said.
 
However, the time elapsed without incident and the individual never called back. Wynn said the caller making the threat was "scratchy" and "difficult to hear."
 
"We're working it an as active case," he said.
 
At least two of those targets were schools. 
 
Both Lanesborough and Lenox have reported that just before 2 p.m. bomb threats were made on the schools. The call were made to Pittsfield Police dispatch.
 
"This afternoon at 1:49 p.m., Lanesborough Elementary School received a notice from the Lanesborough Police Department of a bomb threat identifying several targets throughout Berkshire County including Lanesborough Elementary School. School personnel conducted a thorough search of the building and its perimeter, joined by town police and fire officials. The chiefs of the Lanesborough Police and Fire Departments were on the scene immediately and determined that no students or students were in danger," wrote Lanesborough Principal Martin McEvoy.
 
Police Chief Timothy Sorrell said police and fire initiated its "bomb scare protocol" and ultimately found no threats. Lanesborough Police were notified of the threat around 1:45 and claimed the bomb would go off a half hour later.
 
Cheshire Elementary went into a "soft lockdown," according to a Facebook posting by the Cheshire Police Department because the threat mentioned the Cheshire post office, which is not far from the school.
 
"I want to reiterate that the Cheshire Elementary School was never mentioned in the bomb threat," state the post, presumably by Chief Timothy Garner. "Post office employees were notified and they made their contacts as well."
 
Once the time frame of the threat expired, the school went back to normal.
 
Two schools in Dalton were reportedly included in the threat but neither were evacuated unlike Lenox Memorial Middle and High School.
 
The Berkshire Eagle reported that Lenox Memorial Middle and High School was evacuated because of the threat. That too was found to be unsubstantiated by Lenox police and fire.
 
Principal Michael Knybel told the Berkshire Eagle: "In the interest of student and staff safety and security, we have sent students home early... Our first concern is the safety of our students and we will make every attempt to ensure this matter is thoroughly investigated and safety is restored."
 
 
Updated with information from Cheshire Police.
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UPDATED: Greylock Federal Branch Robbed at Knifepoint

Staff Reports
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The Greylock Federal Credit Union branch near the Lanesborough border was robbed Tuesday night.
 
According to Greylock CEO John Bissell, the branch was robbed by knifepoint just before 6 p.m. on Wednesday night. The branch will remain closed until Monday, Jan. 4. 
 
"At about 5:55 p.m. on December 30, the Lanesborough branch of Greylock Federal was robbed. The perpetrator showed a knife and demanded money. In these types of unfortunate circumstances, our number one concern is for the safety of our employees and our Members. We are gratified and relieved that no one was hurt," Bissell wrote. 
 
"We are pleased that all employees reacted in exactly the way they are trained to do.  We appreciate the prompt response of state and local law enforcement and we are cooperating fully with the investigation being conducted by the Pittsfield Police Department. The Lanesborough branch will remain closed on December 31, and will reopen Monday, January 4."
 
The robbery apparently took place just minutes before the regular closing time. The office is located at 1664 North St. and is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekdays. 
 
On Thursday Police released photos of the suspect and is asking for help identifying him. The suspect is decribed as a black male, approximately 5'10" tall, around 200 lbs. and between the ages of 25 and 30. He walked from Lakeview Street, entered the bank, displayed a knife, demanded money and then exited back toward Lakeview Street. 
 
Anyone with information is asked to contact the Detective Bureay at 413-448-9705 or email tdawley@pittsfieldpd.org.
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Superior Court Briefs: Dec. 15

Staff Reports
Cases heard before Judge Daniel Ford on Tuesday, Dec. 15.
 
Kevin Fowler, 45, of Rocky Hill, Conn. pleaded guilty to 11 counts of larceny over $250, 11 counts of uttering, and 11 counts of forgery.
 
He was ordered to serve two to three years at the Massachusetts Correctional Institution at Cedar Junction. Fowler admitted to creating false checks and cashing them in Berkshire County between June 4, 2015 and June 6, 2015. The checks totaled $27,967.
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Driver Injured in Church Street Accident in North Adams

Staff Reports
iBerkshires
Update 8:16 p.m., Dec. 21: Owen Taylor, 31, of Adams, has been identified as the driver. He is also the owner of the vehicle. Police say charges are still pending in the incident.
 

NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — A 31-year-old Adams man was seriously injured early Sunday night after crashing his sport utility vehicle on Church Street.

The accident occurred before 8:30 p.m. near the intersection with Bradley.  The driver, whose name was not immediately released, had to be extricated from the vehicle and taken to Berkshire Medical Center in Pittsfield.

"He appeared to have serious injuries," said Police Director Michael Cozzaglio, who added that the driver was not wearing a seat belt. "Speed and alcohol seem to be the two contributing factors to this accident."

His black Nissan Xterra was southbound on Church when he lost control, veered across the northbound lane, going up onto the lawn of a house just past Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts.

"He came up on the lawn, hit a tree, and still traveling at a high rate of speed ... he was sideways on the passenger side and came to rest on the stair on its side,"  said Cozzaglio.

The vehicle cut across a shared driveway, taking out a "Private Drive" sign, and up onto another steep lawn when it flipped onto its passenger side, slid into a concrete stairway and down into the road.

It came to rest across the northbound lane of road with debris surrounding it, including broken bottles; Church was closed between Davenport and Blackinton for more than an hour.

North Adams Fire and North Adams Ambulance also responded to the scene. Cariddi Auto towed the Nisson, a total loss, from the scene.

Cozzaglio said the accident is under investigation and charges are pending.

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Three-Car Collision on Hadley Overpass Sends One to Hospital

By Nicholas Swanson
iBerkshires Intern

NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — A three-car collision on the Hadley Overpass sent one person to the hospital and stopped traffic around 2:30 p.m.

Initially, the call was for a car on fire on the bridge, with both the Fire Department and police responding. Any blaze had been extinguished almost immediately.

The chain-reaction accident happened between two pickup trucks and a sport utility vehicle, all northbound, as they neared the intersection with Main Street.

Traffic was almost at a complete stop when a Dodge Ram 1500 reportedly collided with the back of a Toyota Four-Runner, pushing into the Toyota Tacoma pickup in front of it.

"I looked up in the rear view mirror and it was barreling toward me like a freight train," said the Four-Runner's driver.

The road was wet and it was raining. Police declined to comment on the cause of the accident at the scene.

The Four-Runner was severely damaged on both front and rear ends, which caused both airbags to be deployed. It was removed by Mohawk Auto. The Toyota Tacoma had some damage on the rear bed but the driver was transported to the hospital. The Dodge incurred front-end damage and was taken away by Dean's Quality Auto.

Traffic was halted for a short time until the vehicles could be removed.

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