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Lanesborough Police Arrest Vermont Man For String of Car Breaks

By Andy McKeever
iBerkshires Staff
LANESBOROUGH, Mass. — Police arrested a Bennington, Vt., man whom they believe is responsible for a number of recent car breaks.
 
On Tuesday, police arrested 29-year-old Nicholas Leonard at the Weathervane Motel on a number of charges related to the string of car break-ins. Leonard is being held at the Berkshire County House of Correction on $5,500 bail and will be arraigned on Wednesday. 
 
"A concerned citizen knew we were looking for him and said they saw him at the Weathervane," said Chief Timothy Sorrell.
 
Leonard is being charged by Lanesborough Police on four counts of breaking and entering a motor vehicle, two counts of larceny under $250, and single counts of uttering, larceny over $250, and forgery. Pittsfield Police and Vermont authorities are also expected to file charges relating to similar incidents in those areas.
 
"Numerous stolen items were found in the room from various break-ins in Pittsfield and Lanesborough," Sorrell said.
 
The chief said Leonard had been suspected in the recent car breaks. Just three days earlier, Lanesborough Police used Facebook to warn citizens to lock their car doors to protect their property.
 
Leonard was apparently seen on video in one of the breaks, according to Sorrell. He also alleged that Leonard had stolen a checkbook, wrote checks for cash, and provided identification when he went to cash them. 
 
Prior to Tuesday's arrest, there were default warrants: one from 2011 in Williamstown for 20 counts of breaking and entering a motor vehicle and one from 2015 in North Adams for failing to provide a DNA sample — Massachusetts requires those convicted of a felony to provide one. 
 
In 2011, Leonard was charged with breaking into vehicles in Bennington and Pownal, Vt., and in Williamstown. He was accused of some 41 car break-ins and stealing more than $10,000 worth of various items.
     

North Adams Woman Injured in Collision With Box Truck

By Andy McKeever
iBerkshires Staff

The RAV 4 was peeled open to extricate the driver. Photos provided by a reader.
LANESBOROUGH, Mass. — A 19-year-old North Adams woman is expected to be taken to Baystate Medical Center in Springfield after her vehicle collided with a box truck Tuesday morning.
 
Police say Samantha Scutt, 19, of North Adams was southbound on Route 8 when she veered into oncoming traffic and collided with a 2010 Chevrolet box truck driven by Carl Gasco, 50, of Millbury. The crash occurred at about 9:30 a.m. at the intersection of Route 8 and Old State Road. The box truck, owned by Linders Inc. of Worcester, also hit a utility pole and electrical wires were hanging "dangerously close" to the scene.
 
Scutt was trapped inside of her 2002 Toyota RAV 4 for an hour and a half before she could be extricated using the Jaws of Life and taken to Berkshire Medical Center in Pittsfield. A state trooper got into her vehicle to stay with her through the ordeal.
 
Police say she has serious injuries and is expected to be transferred to Baystate. Gasco was also taken to Berkshire Medical Center with broken legs and possible internal bleeding. 
 
Responders from Lanesborough, Pittsfield, Cheshire and Dalton fire department, and County Ambulance worked to extricate the two operators.
 
The crash led Route 8 to be closed for nearly six hours. Scutt will be cited for a marked lanes violation.
     

Lanesborough Man Facing Charges After Crashing Car

Staff Reports

NEW ASHFORD, Mass. — A Lanesborough man is facing charges for operating under the influence after his car crashed into a utility pole early Saturday morning.

Daniel Scorpa, 23, lost control of his 2015 Volkswagen Jetta on Route 7 at Ingraham Road at about 2:35 a.m., according to preliminary investigation by Trooper Christopher LaPointe.

Scorpa struck the utility pole, shearing the pole at the bottom.

He was placed under arrest for operating under the influence of liquor, negligent operation of a motor vehicle, and failing to stay within marked lanes. He was booked at the state police barracks in Cheshire, where he was held pending bail and his arraignment in Northern Berkshire District Court on Tuesday.

     

State Fire Marshal Seeking Info On Lanesborough Garage Fire

Staff Reports
LANESBOROUGH, Mass. — The state fire marshal is looking for the public's help in determining how a garage fire was started on North Main Street just after midnight Thursday.

Lanesborough Fire Chief Charles Durfee said firefighters responded at 12:16 a.m. to the structure fire at 558 North Main St. The fire was fully involved when they arrived and the chief called for tankers from Hancock, Cheshire and New Ashford fire departments.

It took nearly four hours to extinguish the blaze in the secluded area.

The fire marshal's office, under State Fire Marshal Peter J. Ostroskey, is investigating the cause of the blaze and is asking for anyone who heard or saw people or vehicles in the area to call Lanesborough Police at 413-443-4107.

"There was a fire last night in a garage in a remote location off of North Main Street. The building was fully engulfed by the time the fire was noticed shortly after midnight and the Lanesborough Fire Department called. The investigative team is looking for the public's help in determining the cause of the fire. If anyone saw or heard people or vehicles in the  area, or saw the fire in its earliest stages, they are asked to contact the Lanesborough Police," reads a statement from the fire marshal's office.

Any information can help determine exactly where, when, and how the fire started and all calls are confidential. The fire is being investigated by Lanesborough Fire and Police, and state fire police assigned to the office of the state fire marshal.
     

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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