Pittsfield Police on Hunt for Mysterious 'G' Vandal
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Who or what is "G?"
An initial? A symbol for the number 7? An agent of the Men in Black? No one knows, but the random letter tag has been popping up around the city.
Police say the majority of the vandalism has not been directly reported, but the appearance of this graffiti on road signs, utility boxes, and both public and private buildings, has been noted by patrolling officers and members of the public for more than a month now.
The investigation to date has not shown the graffiti to be associated with any known national or local gangs, and no one has provided video surveillance to the department.
The tagging appears to be random and perpetrated by one individual. The tags also aren't hard to find - it took only a few minutes to track down a G image for this article.
Police would really like to speak with the mysterious G, so anyone with information on the vandalism can contact the department through the "Report a Tip" link.
Pittsfield Man Drowns In Pontoosuc Lake
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.
Man Dies Following Assault at Pittsfield YMCA Apartments
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — A 44-year-old man died Sunday after being assaulted in the apartments operated by the Pittsfield Family YMCA.
Joseph Wirtes, 44, was allegedly assaulted by Brian Signor at the apartments Sunday morning. Wirtes was transported to Berkshire Medical Center following the assault and was pronounced dead later that day.
Signor, 27, also of the YMCA's 292 North St. residence, was arraigned on Monday on a single count of aggravated assault and battery, according to the district attorney's office. He pleaded not guilty and is being held at the Berkshire County House of Correction on $50,000 cash or surety bail.
Further charges may be forthcoming, according to the DA, pending the results of an autopsy being conducted on Monday by the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Holyoke.
FBI: MS-13 Member Arrested In Pittsfield
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — An alleged member of a violent international street gang was arrested Thursday morning in Pittsfield by the FBI.
Efrain Vasquez-Yanez has been charged with conspiracy under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) and conspiracy to distribute cocaine. The State Police Violent Fugitive Apprehension Section, the U.S. Marshals Fugitive Task Force, and Pittsfield Police took Vasquez-Yanez into custody without incident Thursday.
He was indicted in U.S. District Court in Boston along with 55 others of the La Mara Salvatrucha — or MS-13 — gang in January. Last week, the Federal Bureau of Investigation announced a $20,000 reward for information leading to his arrest. But no money will be paid out in this case, according to FBI officials.
The 33-year-old Vasquez-Yanez was born in El Salvador and was last seen in July in Everett. The FBI obtained information related to a connection to Pittsfield, which led to his arrest on Thursday.
The January indictment issued out of Boston accuses the gang members of various crimes including murder, attempted murder, and drug trafficking. The FBI says Vasquez-Yanez received "homeboy status" within the gang, which the FBI says is granted only to members who commit a murder and or inflict serious physical injury on a person in the name of the gang. He allegedly served as "protection" for interstate transport of cocaine loads.
The FBI's wanted poster said he was considered armed and dangerous.
Pittsfield Police Officer Fired for Misconduct
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — A Pittsfield police officer has been fired for "multiple misconduct charges."
Officer Dale Eason, a 20-year veteran of the force, had been on leave since May after a scuffle with an elderly woman in her home last year.
A terse press release from Chief Michael Wynn said Eason had been terminated on Wednesday after a "lengthy internal investigation and a local civil service hearing."
Eason had arrested Phyllis Stankiewicz, 88, after he and another officer entered her home after being sent to the wrong address for a disturbance. A confused Stankiewicz had allegedly threatened them with a small paring knife and, when disarmed, had slapped Eason on the wrist. Eason then put her on the ground and arrested her. All charges against Stankiewicz were dropped.
"The City of Pittsfield and the Pittsfield Police Department take any and all acts of police misconduct by our personnel extremely seriously. Service as a police officer requires a high degree of public trust. On those rare occasions, as is the case here, that trust is violated, severe sanctions must be imposed," said Wynn in the statement.