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Stolen Property Being Returned to Owners

Staff Reports

LENOX, Mass. — The items held as evidence in the case against burglary kingpin Stefan Veremko are being released to their owners.

The Lenox Police Department has been holding hundreds of items seized in November 2009 from Veremko's home, vehicle and areas where he had discarded the property. Veremko's monthslong spree across three states ended when an off-duty officer spotted him fleeing a building - with a pillowcase. 

Multiple police agencies were investigating the break-ins, which stretched from Southern Vermont to South County. As a result, Veremko and accomplice Tara Malloy were arrested. The recent conclusion of the case convicting Veremko and giving him five- to seven-year state prison sentence allows police the opportunity to return the seized evidence to the many victims involved with this case, said Chief Stephen E. O'Brien.

Many people came to the Lenox Town Hall on Nov. 19, 2009, to view the vast array of items. Some were able to identify items that indeed belonged to them. While conducting this process, during the exit interview, these victims were asked to provide a phone number at which they could be reached at the conclusion of the case.

Within the next several days, the victims who identified property will be receiving a call from the Lenox Police to arrange for the release of their property. All of the property that was identified will be returned to its rightful owner. For victims from the states of Vermont and New York, their property will be released to the police agency having jurisdiction over the crime. The out-of-state agency will make a determination if that property may be released or if it will remain held pending future criminal action against Veremko and Malloy in their states.

"We are asking for everyone's patience as we attempt to relinquish property in an orderly fashion to be certain that each and every victim recoups their loss," said O'Brien. "We also thank everyone involved for their patience as this case made its way through the criminal court system."

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Man Killed by Bull in Clarksburg

Staff Reports

CLARKSBURG, Mass. — A man was killed Wednesday afternoon while trying to move a bull into a pen at a Daniels Road dairy farm and another seriously injured.

Paul F. Marshall, 78, was leading the bull across a field when it attacked Marshall and Everett Sherman, a neighbor trying to help, said police. Marshall was pronounced dead at the scene. Sherman was reportedly gored on his side by the bull and taken to North Adams Regional Hospital and later transported to Berkshire Medical Center in Pittsfield.

The bull, described as black with a white mark, was to be put down last Thursday. It was one of a number of Holsteins kept at the farm.

The bull was in a back garden area with eight cows, said Police Chief Michael Williams on Monday. It wasn't clear if the cattle were loose and Marshall was trying to pen them up or if he was just moving them.

Marshall's wife, Carolyn, saw much of what happened and at 1:22 p.m. called the dispatcher in North Adams saying her husband was being attacked by a bull.

Firefighters were first on the scene, followed by police and two North Adams Ambulance Service vehicles. Williams said state police detectives attached to the district attorney's office also responded, as did Medical Examiner Dr. Benjamin Glick. The DA's office did not have any further information.

Emergency responders remained on the scene for several hours.

The Marshalls purchased the farm, which runs along the south side of Daniels Road between East Road and Walker Street, in 1983 from the Massachusetts State College Builiding Authority.

The land had been used by what was then North Adams State College for a sustainable agricultural program. More recently, it became the home of Square Roots Farm, which is leasing land to grow produce and some livestock.

Original post Saturday, Nov. 25, 2010. Updated Nov. 29, 2010 with more information.

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Basement Fire Damages Clarksburg Home

Staff Reports

Photo by Seth Shepard
Emergency vehicles blocked Middle Road for about an hour on Monday afternoon as firefighters doused a basement fire at 96 Middle Road.

 CLARKSBURG, Mass. — A smoky basement fire on Monday damaged a home on Middle Road not far from the town border with North Adams.

Firefighters from Clarksburg and Stamford, Vt., responded to an apparent electrical fire at 96 Middle Road at about 4:30. Witnesses said smoke could be seen pouring from the back of the building.

Emergency vehicles blocked the road for about an hour as they contained the blaze. Pumper trucks used the small pond across the street from the gray house to send water shooting into the back yard.

Firefighters had to cut through the back wall near the rear entrance to get to the blaze, which was doused within a half-hour. North Adams Ambulance also responded but no one was reported injured. No further information was immediately available.

 

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Crime Watch Page Created for North Adams

Staff Reports

NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — There's a new crime watch page on Facebook for city residents.

The page was created by Jennifer Breen Kirsch, a local attorney who's become active in crime prevention after her parents' home was broken into days after Christmas. Kirsch, working with the city and local organizations, has spearheaded the community watch group.

The community effort has been prompted by a wave of break-ins that came to public attention last fall after a number of break-ins in Clarksburg and Stamford, Vt. A suspect believed to be the culprit in the majority of them — and dozens of others through Berkshire and Bennington (Vt.) County — was arrested and charged. However, several of those burglaries have not be resolved and numerous others have occurred in Williamstown, North Adams, Adams and Cheshire over recent months.

North Adams held a community meeting on Thursday night at City Hall to discuss crime and neighborhood action to prevent it.

The new Facebook page states:

Please join the new Neighborhood Crime Watch Group sponsored by Mayor Dick Alcombright, the NAPD through Officer Mark Bailey and Commissioner E. John Morocco, community representative Jenn Kirsch, and the NBCC, through Ashley Benson and Al Bashevkin. To find out more, please post questions and we will quickly reply. Our goal is to reduce the crime rate, as a community, in conjunction with City Hall and the NAPD. We need volunteers and neighborhood captains to run meetings. If you are interested, Officer Bailey, along with members of the team, will conduct a meeting for you and your neighbors, at your home. Let's unite under this common goal to reduce crime in our city!

 

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Veremko Arraigned, Held on $250K

Staff Reports

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Here's a name familiar to many in Clarksburg and Stamford — Stefan Veremko.

Veremko was arraigned in Berkshire Superior Court on Monday afternoon multiple charges related to numerous burglaries across the county between last June 1 and Nov. 19, 2009. The Pittsfield man is suspected in some of the break-ins and attempted break-ins in both Clarksburg and Stamford this past fall. He's also facing charges in the Bennington, Vt., area.

The 28-year-old had not-guilty pleas entered on his behalf for 15 counts of breaking and entering in the daytime with intent to commit a felony; 14 counts of larceny in building; 11 counts of malicious destruction of property worth more than $250; 15 counts of receiving stolen property worth more than $250 and single counts each of possesion of ammunition without a firearms identification card, cruelty to animals and being a common and notorious thief (we'll have to look that one up).

Judge John A. Agostini ordered that he be held at the Berkshire County House of Correction on $25,000 cash or $250,000 surety bail. He also was ordered to stay away from the many victims, as well as to have no contact with them if he posts bail.

As most will remember, Veremko was arrested after an off-duty probation officer said he saw him fleeing a building in Lenox with a full pillow case. Veremko allegedly stopped and switched license plates but the officer noted the number and he was arrested at his Dartmouth Street residence.

The investigation was conducted by members of the Lenox, Pittsfield, Dalton, Lanesborough, Stockbridge, West Stockbridge, Williamstown and Clarksburg police departments and state troopers assigned to the Lee barracks.  

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