Construction Workers Treated at North Adams Supermarket
Businesses Warned of Utility Scam
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Area businesses are being warned not for fall for a scam targeting their electricity accounts.
At least one business owner fell for the con in which someone calls up claiming to be from National Grid and threatens to turn off the electricity unless the victim pays through GreenDot MoneyPak payment cards.
Williamstown Police Chief Kyle Johnson said four business owners have already contacted him about the scam, which has been floating around at least since this past April.
National Grid, in a press release, said it has "received numerous calls from electric customers saying they have been contacted by phone by individuals claiming to be from National Grid and advising the customers they have a past due balance on their utility bill."
The utility notes that is does contact customers with overdue accounts to offer payment options, "but never demands direct payment over the telephone."
Colleen Taylor of the Freight Yard Pub was contacted by the scammers on Tuesday morning and immediately brought it to the attention of Johnson and iBerkshires and gave us the scammer's number at 801-850-6225 in Provo, Utah. The number appears to be routed through Ymax Communications Corp., purveyors of the magicJack phone service.
We called and spoke first with a man named Mike Wallace who sent us to his "supervisor" Jason Roberts.
Roberts informed us that we needed to purchase those GreenDot cards to pay our bill because the technicians "have a van with every single customer's information, credit card, Social Security, checking routing number, so on and so forth" and if it got stolen, the thief would have all our information.
That's why if there's an hour cancelation they won't accept a check or cash payment.
No, that doesn't make any sense, but the scammers do talk a good line trying to make it sound reasonable. Really, if your utility asks you to go buy some money card at Cumberland Farms — hang up.
National Grid says to call its Customer Contact Center at 1-800-322-3223 if you receive any suspicious calls demanding account information or immediate payment. Western Massachusetts Electric Co. is also aware of the scam, which hit the Springfield area in July. WMECo customers can call 1-877-OK- WMECo.
After getting off the phone with Mr. Roberts, Charles Anderson of the "National Grid Disconnect Department" called us back, saying a technician would arrive at 2 p.m. to disconnect us. We can't wait.
7 Police Vehicles Respond To North Adams Traffic Stop
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Several police responded Friday afternoon to help out the state police with a traffic stop.
According to the police log, three North Adams Police officers were dispatched to the intersection of Ashland Street and Washington Avenue to assist state police.
On scene, police were seen searching a motor vehicle. North Adams Police responded at 3:15 p.m. and cleared the scene at 4:04 p.m.
A total of seven law enforcement vehicles lined Ashland Street and three men were seen being questioned by officers outside of a vehicle.
No further information was immediately available.
North Adams Man Pleads Not Guilty to Murder
|David Delratez entered not guilty pleas for multiple charges, including the murder of 84-year-old Ellen Depaoli, on Monday morning at Northern Berkshire District Court.|
Man Charged With Murder of North Adams Woman
David Delratez, 41, was extradited to Massachusetts on Friday on previous warrants. He was charged with Ellen Depaoli's murder on being returned to the commonwealth. He is being held without bail and will be arraigned in North Adams on Monday.
Updated at 8:30 p.m., Sept. 20, 2013, with rewrites throughout to reflect new charges and change of datelines
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Police have charged David A. Delratez, 41, of Walker Street with the murder of 84-year-old Ellen Depaoli, who lived on the same street.
Delratez was charged with single counts of murder and larceny of a motor vehicle. He is being held at the Berkshire County House of Correction without bail and will be arraigned in Northern Berkshire District Court on Monday morning.
Depaoli's body was found inside her home on Tuesday night. The investigation has included multiple law enforcement agencies, including assistance from the Bennington (Vt.) Police Department.
"Great appreciation is due to the many investigators who worked tirelessly in this case, some several days with little or no sleep," said Berkshire District Attorney David A. Capeless in a statement. "It was through the coordinated efforts of multiple police agencies that we were able to make this arrest."
Deltratez was arrested on outstanding warrants Thursday night during the recovery of Depaoli's vehicle in Bennington. He appeared before Judge Nancy Corsones in Vermont District Court early Friday afternoon on charges of violating probation on felonies committed in Massachusetts.
He waived his rights for rendition to Massachusetts and was taken into custody shortly thereafter by Berkshire County law enforcement and charged upon being returned to the commonwealth.
According to an affidavit filed by Bennington Police Sgt. David L. Dutcher, North Adams (Mass.) Police Detective John Leclair contacted him requesting assistance for "a person of interest" after locating Delratez's cell phone through GPS. Delratez was said to have friends in the Bennington area, and that he may driving a blue Taurus, the same description as Depaoli's.
According to court documents, Depaoli's vehicle was parked across the street from a Valentine Street apartment in Bennington occupied by Darlene Oldham. Police say they were told Delratez was "hanging around" with Oldham. When investigators were going to check a nearby Pleasant Street apartment, officers spotted Delratez running behind neighboring homes and took him into custody as a fugitive from Massachusetts.
The court documents can be found here.
Delratez had previously been placed on probation in 2012 after an admission of sufficient facts of assault and battery and assault with a dangerous weapon against his now former wife. He was sentenced to 18 months in jail and placed on probation until 2015. According to the court affadavit, he is suspected in a burglary at his former wife's home in Clarksburg on Friday, Sept. 13. A warrant was issued for his arrest in that case when his probation officer could not locate him.
At Friday's rendition hearing, he voluntarily agreed to be extradited to Massachusetts for court proceedings on the previous felonies. He appeared calm and said he understood the proceedings, responding to questions with "yes" or "no." The public defender assigned to his case, attorney Frederick Bragdon, declined to comment; three women who had been in the court with him quickly left the building.