Phillip Jordan was arraigned in Vermont on Monday afternoon on a fugitive from justice charge and is being held on $25,000 bail. A not-guilty plea was entered on his behalf and his case was continued pending an examination to determine his competency to participate in court proceedings regarding his fugitive status.
Jordan is facing three counts of burning a dwelling house in connection with fires at homes on Appleton Avenue, Ridge Avenue and Fort Hill Avenue in Pittsfield on Saturday. The investigation is continuing and more charges may be pending.
Update: Sunday, September 23, 2018 at 5:07 p.m.
Pittsfield Police say Phillip Jordan was apprehended at the Canadian border by U.S. Customs and Border Patrol agents at the Highgate Port of Entry in Highgate Springs, Vt. without incident. The district attorney's office is assisting in the extradition back to Massachusetts.
Police are seeking any information on the whereabouts of Phillip Jordan. Jordan is considered armed and dangerous.
Original Post: Saturday, September 22, 2018.
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Authorities say incendiary devices were used Saturday night to start fires in four separate locations in the city all at about the same time.
"We had four fires simultaneously in the community," said Fire Chief Robert Czerwinski at the scene of the worst of the incidents on Appleton Avenue.
"We believe they are all related at this time. The Police Department is searching for a suspect right now that we believe is responsible for this."
Police released a Code Red notification shortly after 9 p.m. seeking information on the whereabouts of 58-year-old Phillip Jordan.
He is believed to have intentionally lit the fires. Jordan was operating a blue Subaru Legacy with license plate number 7LJA90.
Jordan is described as a white man with long salt and pepper hair, standing 5-feet 7-inches tall, and weighing 135 pounds.
He is considered armed and dangerous and police say he should not be approached.
Police are asking anyone with information about his whereabouts to contact the department.
A Phillip Jordan is also listed in the Registry of Deeds as the owner of 112 Appleton Ave., where the first of the fires was reported at 6:42 p.m. That fire was still going strong more than two hours later. A second fire was reported at Fort Hill Avenue, a third at Ridge Avenue and then a fourth on Brown Street.
"This is the worst of them," the fire chief said as crews continued to fight the blaze in the two-story home on Appleton. "They're heavily involved in defensive operations ... it was in the basement and went through the entire building."
No one was home at the Appleton residence but the occupants of the other three homes were able to put out the fires before firefighters arrived.
"They were all single-family homes," Czerwinski said. "It appears to be some kind of incendiary device at all four houses."
Firefighters and equipment from Richmond, Lanesborough, Lenox and Dalton were called in to help respond the blazes and cover the station. Fire investigators with the department were already working at the three smaller fires and arson investigators were on their way.
Meanwhile, throughout the evening police had officers scouring the area looking for Jordan.
Firefighters extinguished the Appleton blaze and were packing up to leave the scene at about 10:30 p.m. That was when fire investigators began working the scene.
Man Arrested After Berkshire Bank Robbery Monday Morning
A sign on the door alerted customers that the branch is closed for the day.
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Pittsfield Police were able to apprehend the suspected robber of a Berkshire Bank branch within hours of the crime Monday morning.
At about 10:50 in the morning, officers responded to a reported robbery of Berkshire Bank branch on Elm Street.
Two hours later, police arrested 37-year-old Christopher Rock in connection with the crime.
Police say the suspect showed a note to a teller demanding money "in certain denominations" and then fled on foot with an undetermined amount of cash.
The suspect was identified on surveillance video and witness accounts. Sgt. James Parise and his K9 were able to track down "additional evidence."
Police obtained a Seymour Street address where the suspect could be found and he was arrested without incident. Rock's last known address was in Lee.
Rock is being charged with unarmed robbery and possession of heroin. He will be arranged in Central Berkshire District Court on Tuesday morning.
The branch is closed for the rest of the day but is expected to re-open on Tuesday.
It is the second financial institution robbed within the last week. Police are still investigating a robbery of the Greylock Federal Credit Union, also on Elm Street, last Wednesday.
Pittsfield School Bus Involved in Minor Traffic Accident
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — A Westfield man was cited Wednesday for a rear-end collision that involved a Pittsfield Public Schools bus on East Street.
The accident occurred at approximately 3:37 p.m. when a 2012 Honda Civic operated by Anthony Disanto of Westfield rear-ended a 2009 Nissan Versa, operated by Daniel Hammer of Pittsfield, which then struck the bus.
The school bus was stopped in traffic on East Street near the intersection with First Street. The school bus was transporting approximately 19 elementary school-aged children. The collision caused Hammer's vehicle to be pushed into the rear end of the stopped school bus.
The school bus was not dropping children off at the time of the collision. The bus driver was waiting for the signal light at East and First to change. No injuries were reported.
Traffic Officer Michael Silver investigated the accident. Disanto was cited for failure to use care in stopping.
Pittsfield Police Investigating Robbery of Greylock Credit Union Branch
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The Greylock Federal Credit Union branch on Elm Street was robbed Wednesday morning.
Police say at about 10:30 in the morning officers responded to the credit union for the robbery.
According to police, a woman, described as being in her 20s with a slim build, had passed a note to a teller — no weapons were shown — and then left with an undetermined amount of cash.
The suspect is described as wearing a black hooded sweatshirt, baseball cap, and ripped jeans. She was carrying a large purse and then fled in an unknown direction of travel.
Police do not believe there is any danger to the public and nobody was injured at the time. Police are asking any additional witnesses or anyone who may have information to contact the detective bureau.
Police are also asking to see any video surveillance systems around the Elm Street, Pollock Avenue, Commonwealth Avenue, and the surrounding areas.
Officials at Greylock Federal Credit Union praised the way the employees had followed protocols and were happy that no one had been hurt during the incident.
"In these types of unfortunate circumstances, our No. 1 concern is for the safety of our employees and our members," Chief Risk Officer Jeffrey Gerard said in a statement released Wednesday afternoon.
"We are pleased that all employees reacted in exactly the way they are trained to do. We appreciate the prompt response of local law enforcement and we are cooperating fully with the investigation being conducted by the Pittsfield Police Department."
North Adams Man Charged In Fatal Hit And Run Accident
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — A 32-year-old North Adams man was arraigned Friday on charges related to the fatal accident last week that killed Alan Keefe of Pittsfield.
Brian Dillard is accused of crashing a stolen pickup truck he was driving into the 49-year-old Keefe, who was operating a Harley-Davidson motorcycle, on Linden Street and then fleeing the scene. The accident occurred at about 5:40 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 24.
He was arrested by North Adams Police on Thursday evening on an outstanding warrant and transferred to Central Berkshire District Court on Friday afternoon to answer to the motor vehicle homicide charges.
Dillard was ordered to be held without bail at the Berkshire County House of Correction on two counts of negligent operation of a motor vehicle and single counts of leaving the scene of property damage, leaving the scene of personal injury and death, and motor vehicle homicide by negligent operation.
According to the probable cause report filed by Pittsfield Police in District Court, Dillard was an employee of Cariddi Auto Sales and allegedly took one of the shop's trucks to purchase heroin in Pittsfield. Police say Dillard had picked up his paycheck in North Adams but nobody say how he left the property.
Dillard allegedly hit Keefe's motorcycle while driving a shop-owned truck and then left it on South John Street and fled on foot.
When contacted by police that his vehicle had been found connected to the crash, Cariddi Auto Sales owner Guy Cariddi said he was unaware the vehicle was missing that Friday. The truck was apparently at the business at 5 p.m. when he had left for the day, unsecured with the keys in it. He later confirmed it was missing and reported it stolen to the North Adams Police Department.
Police received a number of statements from witnesses at the scene and then posted a photo of the truck on Facebook asking for any information about the driver.
Two witnesses provided statements with descriptions that matched Dillard, according to the police report. One witness said he had seen the vehicle in the neighborhood multiple times. Another woman provided a statement that she had been asked, and provided, Dilliard a ride back to North Adams. A co-worker of Dillard reported the two had gone separate ways that evening to purchase heroin and reconvened in North Adams later. Another witness identified Dillard from a series of mugshots provided by the North Adams Police.
On Tuesday, North Adams Police made an arrest in a breaking and entering case, also involving Cariddi's Auto Sales, and the man arrested provided a statement that he was friends with Dillard and was told about the situation.
Dillard had previously had his licenses revoked for an operating under the influence of drugs charge in 2016. In 2015, he also had two guilty findings of operating a motor vehicle with a suspended license.
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