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North Adams Police Urge Caution When Driving

A motorist collided with the back of a flatbed on Church Street, one of a half-dozen accidents on Tuesday afternoon.

NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — The light snow that fell over the city on Tuesday afternoon resulted in a half-dozen motor vehicle accidents in less than an hour, according to police.

Within minutes, officers and firefighters responded to a car in ditch off West Shaft Road near the Zavattaro Athletic Complex in which an occupant in the car needed help in getting out, a single-car accident by Brown Street, a car into a flatbed truck on Church Street near the Berkshire Tower dormitories and a two-vehicle collision near Walmart.  

Police used their Facebook page to remind motorists to drive carefully.

"As the winter progresses, allow yourselves a little bit of extra time to get where you are going. Take a look at your tires and if they are getting low on tread depth, don't risk driving in the snow. It's just not worth it. The amount of money spent on damage to your vehicle, or injuries sustained as a result of an accident, will far surpass what it would cost to get new tires. Have a good day everyone!"

     

North Adams Man Arrested in Scooter Theft, Multiple Warrants

Staff Reports
Patrick Gaffey, 45, and Debra Gaffey, 41, of North Adams were arrested in Hartford, Conn., on Wednesday.

NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — A North Adams man wanted in the robbery of a local woman's scooter two months ago, among numerous other charges, was arrested Wednesday in Hartford, Conn.

Patrick Gaffey, 45, and his wife, Debra Gaffey, 41, both were taken into custody at the behest of the North Adams Police Department after receiving information that they may do harm to themselves or their autistic son.

Patrick Gaffey was arrested by the Hartford Police Department as a fugitive from justice based on an active warrant in Massachusetts. Both were also charged with possession of narcotics after police said they found more than 100 bags of heroin in their minivan and possession of narcotics within 1,500 feet of a school. They are also facing third-degree larceny for allegedly stealing the minivan they were driving.

Their son was transported to Hartford Hospital for evaluation and then released to the care of the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families.

Hartford Police apprehended the pair at about 2 p.m. on Wednesday. North Adams and state police detectives and state police Violent Fugitive Apprehension Section relayed the general area where they were believed to be and Hartford Police picked them up minutes later.

Patrick Gaffey has multiple arrest warrants in Massachusetts for which he will be brought to back to face once waiving extradition; if not, a governor's warrant will be requested.

Gaffey is wanted by North Adams, Holyoke and Clarksburg police departments and state police for nine arrest warrants.

Gaffey and Jesse Sprague, 31, of Cliff Street, were also arrested in a purse snatching in October at Ingleside Mall in Holyoke.

In September, police began an investigation into the theft of more than $50,000 worth of collectable toy trains, toys and other collectables from a storage unit in North Adams. Detectives were able to locate that some of the items were being sold on eBay by a man located in Ludlow. With the assistance of Ludlow Police detectives, a North Adams detective working undercover purchased multiple toy train accessories from the man in Ludlow.

Oct. 12, 2013, North Adams and Ludlow detectives with the assistance of the Adams, Lenox, Great Barrington and Wilbraham police departments executed a search warrant for the stolen collectables and recovered approximately $35,000 worth.

Gaffey is also charged with the following offenses:

North Adams
Larceny more than $250, scrap metal in March 2013; six counts of larceny by check less than $250 and three counts of uttering a false check in May 2013; possession of heroin from a motor vehicle stop in August 2013; and four counts of uttering a false check and three counts of forgery for allegedly stealing a checkbook in November 2013.

He and another as-yet unnamed man are also charged with larceny more than $250 related to the scooter theft in September. Police were investigating the theft of Suzanne Williams' scooter. Williams, always accompanied by her doll, Suzy, is well known around the city and community members have been raising funds to replace her scooter.

Regarding the collectibles theft: Larceny more than $250, breaking and entering in the daytime with the intent to commit a felony and malicious destruction of property more than $250. Warrants issued by Northern Berkshire District Court.

Clarksburg
Larceny more than $250 in the theft of a motorcycle in August 2013

Holyoke
Unarmed robbery of a person 65 years old or older in relation to the purse snatching from a 73-year-old woman in October (with Jesse Sprague).
        
Charlemont
Possession of burglarious tools, from an investigation in October 2013.

The North Adams Police Department continues to investigate other similar related crimes for which Gaffey is a person of interest. With the assistance of the Williamstown Police Department, detectives are attempting to locate the owner of 1960s-era scooter that has been stolen from the Northwest Hill area of Williamstown or possibly in Pownal, Vt., in September or October 2013.  If anyone has information concerning the scooter they are asked to call the North Adams or Williamstown police departments.
 

     

North Adams Police Keep Pressure on Criminal Element

By Tammy Daniels
iBerkshires Staff

NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Police say a major drug bust on Tuesday is a successful example of how they're keeping the pressure on outside criminal elements — and a warning to those considering a return.

"The lion's share of the people we've been dealing with — starting about January and this summer — are outsiders, out-of-town problem people," said Police Director Michael Cozzaglio on Wednesday. "They were from Brooklyn and the Bronx; they came back in."

Three of the eight people arrested during the raid at a Mohawk Forest apartment were from the Bronx, N.Y.; a fifth gave no known address and a sixth was from Springfield. Three were local: Jaycee Bressette, 22, Pownal, Vt., Ronni Hart of Barbour Street and Paul Dugal Jr., a former Florida Mountain resident now living in Mohawk Forest.

Police found 150 grams of crack cocaine, worth about $10,000 on the street, said Cozzaglio, 80 packages of heroin worth about $1,200 and $4,000 in cash.

The police director said the suspects were not unknown to authorities, and two had outstanding warrants. Johnte Smith, 25, and Derrick Witter, 31, of the Bronx were arraigned in Superior Court on Wednesday on counts of assault and battery and intimidation of a witness from earlier this year. Smith was also charged with aggravated rape.

"We put a lot of pressure on our problem people over the summer and the out-of-town people," said Cozzaglio. "Two had outstanding warrants, which also caused them to flee. Subsequently, they had returned and, working with the public, we were able to find out where they were and what they were doing.  

"They were back in the business of dealing drugs."

The raid came together very quickly after authorities learned of the alleged dealers' return. North Adams Police, working with sheriff's office and the task force through the district attorney's office, obtained a warrant and moved fast.

"It was well executed and done very efficiently and done very well," said Cozzaglio.

He said the alleged dealers may have been testing to see if the "pressure was off."

"We are not easing off one little bit. This pressure will stay on until we feel there is a difference being made," he said. "This is part of the problem but not the full problem."

Dealers coming from outside the area inevitably need a place to stay or set up operations; that means they need one or more local people's help as well as customers.

"This type of activity has no borders," said the police director, and pulls in people of all ages and backgrounds. He credited local groups working to prevent addiction and aiding current addicts as a critical effort to attacking the problem.

"Let's work with the addicts and remove the drug dealers ... they have no mercy for these people, they are truly criminal and deserve what they get," he said.

     

North Adams Police Arrest Eight In Drug Bust

Staff Reports

NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Eight people were arrested Tuesday during a heroin bust in Mohawk Forest.

According to the police log, two people were arrested on warrants during the 2 p.m. bust and six others were arrested on being present where heroin-is-kept charges.

Those arrested include Derrick Witter, 31, Christopher Gaynor, 27, and Hammad Singleton, 36, all of Bronx, N.Y.; Johnte Smith, 25, no address given; Carla Robinson, 58, of Springfield; Jaycee Bressette, 22, of Pownal Vt., Ronni Hart, 31, of Barbour Street and Paul P. Dugal Jr., 51, of Mohawk Forest.

Witter and Smith were arrested on warrants and were in Berkshire Superior Court on Wednesday.

Witter has not-guilty pleas entered on his behalf on two counts of intimidation of a witness and a single count of assault and battery by means of a dangerous weapon. He was ordered to be held at the Berkshire County House of Correction on $70,000 cash or $700,000 surety bail. Those incidents allegedly occurred in North Adams between July 17 and July 29, 2013, and involved a 40-year-old woman.

Smith had not-guilty pleas entered on his behalf on three counts of assault and battery and single counts of aggravated rape, assault and battery by means of a dangerous weapon and intimidation of a witness. He was ordered to be held at the Berkshire County House of Correction on $50,000 cash or $500,000 surety bail. The incidents allegedly occurred in North Adam between April 30 and July 17, 2013, and involved a 40-year-old woman.

No further information was immediately available.

Updated on November 27, 2013 at 10:40 a.m. with the court actions.

     

Motor Vehicle Accident Closes Curran Highway

Staff Reports
A two-vehicle accident closed Curran Highway on Tuesday.

NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Curran Highway was closed shortly after 11 a.m. on Tuesday after a state Department of Transportation truck sheared off a utility pole in front of South Side Sales & Service and Mr. Tire.

Police are reporting that the northbound state truck attempted to avoid the southbound sedan, which was making a lefthand turn. The driver of the sedan was cited. It was initially believed that both vehicles were heading in the same direction.

The highway was closed because it was feared the heavy utility pole could pull down the poles on each side of it. At least three National Grid trucks and crews were at the scene to the replace the pole and move the lines and transformers.

Authorities had hoped to have the road open by 1 p.m.

Police and emergency responders were still at the scene at about 12:30 p.m. The truck had been removed from the pole. One ambulance had left the scene but another was still there. It was not clear how many people had been in the vehicles but none of the occupants were transported to the hospital.

The truck and car, which has Vermont plates, suffered significant front-end damage. Traffic was being detoured over Old State Street, behind United Cerebral Palsy.

At the time of the crash, Mr. Tire was filled to capacity with motorists trying to get snow tires on their cars; South Side Sales & Service had several pieces of equipment displayed around the pole. That stretch also includes Dean's Quality Auto & Truck repair and towing, which removed the truck from the scene.

     
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