The fire at 91 Orchard St. Sunday morning was mostly confined to one of three apartments.
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Rumors abound as tight-lipped authorities continue to investigate the disappearance of three men missing from Pittsfield since Aug. 28. David Glasser, Robert Chadwell and Edward Frampton have not been seen since late Aug. 27.
Following the extensive search of Pittsfield State Forest this weekend through Monday, the investigation has turned to repeated interviews and questioning of neighbors of the missing men and associates of Hells Angel officer Adam Lee "Leo" Hall, whose prosecution Glasser is considered to be a key witness for.
Meanwhile, unsubstantiated but persistent rumors that one or more dead bodies were recovered during the search have circulated since Monday. Variations that one, two, or all three bodies were discovered have been repeated to this reporter by more than a dozen people in different areas of Pittsfield.
Caterer Ed Lyons, who owns a cabin at Ponderosa Pine Camp Ground, very near to the area blocked off on Potter Mountain Road during the massive search, said, "The gossip going around here is they found them dead."
Jim Sweener of Pittsfield reported seeing an apparently abandoned car being towed by Sayer's Auto Wrecking out of the State Forest area during the police search on Sunday.
"It was a Ford Festiva, maybe around 1997 or 1998, green and black," said Sweener, "No plates on it."
Pittsfield Police have not responded to inquiries about a possible relationship between this car and the case of the missing men.
The rumors, however unsubstantiated, seem to reflect a growing feeling that foul play may be involved. Speculation has abounded about the possible connection between Glasser's role as a key witness in the prosecution of Hall, of Peru, who has been in custody since the afternoon of Aug. 28, and the disappearance of Glasser and his two friends.
While police and Berkshire County District Attorney David Capeless have been reticent to comment on this possibility in the press, some sources close to the missing men seem convinced that something tragic has taken place.
One of them is Robert Chadwell's brother Lester, also of Linden Street, who told The Berkshire Eagle on Monday, "We'll never hear from them again, and you can quote me on that."
Chadwell told iBerkshires he did not recognize the description of the recovered Ford from State Forest as belonging to any of the three men, nor anyone else he could think of that might be related to the case.
When asked if he knew of any frequent hangouts or spots the missing men might have been around the time they were last seen, Chadwell indicated that they tended to stick close to home. "From over there to over here," he said, indicating the apartment at 254 Linden to his own address across the street, "That's about it."
General consensus among other neighbors of the missing men, who declined to provide their names, agree that there would have been some word from or sign of one of the trio, "unless something very bad happened," as one Linden Street resident phrased it.
No neighbors, however, have publicly reported seeing anything either the night of Aug. 27 or the morning of Aug. 28 that offers any clues to the missing men's whereabouts. Police reported that the apartment at 254 Linden St. showed no sign of a struggle, though cell phones said to belong to them were found at the premises.
David Glasser is thought to be a key witness against Hall.
Despite the fact that Hall, the reputed sergeant at arms for the Berkshire County Hells Angels, has not been officially named as a suspect, a significant amount of time and attention has been given by investigators to establishing Hall's activities leading up to the date the three men went missing.
Two individuals, who also wished not to be identified, say they had been questioned multiple times since Friday by police and detectives attached to the case about their relationship to Hall and knowledge of his whereabouts.
"That's all they asked about," said one young woman who was questioned on repeated occasions, referring to "Leo," aka Hall. "When I'd seen him, where he'd been, who he'd been with. They said they'd pulled his phone records and were putting it together."
She told iBerkshires that as far as she knew, the dispute between the missing Glasser and Hall began when Glasser stole a car part from him in 2009. Hall then allegedly lured the man to his home in Peru, where he proceeded to beat him with a baseball bat. "It's just been escalating since then."
"[Capt.] Barry and the other detectives wanted to know everything I could tell them about Hall, when I'd seen him, if I knew this person or that person seen with him," said another Pittsfield man questioned. "The whole case seems to be about him now."
Hall is currently being held without the right to bail for 60 days at the Berkshire County Jail & House of Correction. He was arraigned Tuesday on new charges of extortion and child pornography, while his trial for previous drug and assault charges begins next week. He is also facing charges of kidnapping, witness intimidation, and with trying to frame witness Glasser with a fictitious crime.