Two Men Arrested, Facing Charges For Blackinton Break-Ins, Larceny
State and local police monitor the east end of the Blackinton Mill on Thursday afternoon in search of suspects who had broken into the mill. Two suspects were arrested Thursday night in connection with the break-ins and robberies.
Updated on May 14 at 3:17 p.m.:
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Two local men were arrested Thursday night and are facing felony charges in connection to recent break-ins and copper theft at the Blackinton Mill.
Sam Malinowski, 22, of North Adams, and Dylan Forde, 24, of the town of Florida, were arraigned Friday morning at Northern Berkshire District Court and both were charged with counts of breaking and entering, destruction of property (of a value over $250) and malicious larceny (of a value over $250). According to Commissioner of Public Safety E. John Morocco, "quite a large amount of copper" was stolen from the mill over the last several days.
"It looked like they maybe had been taking pieces out for some time," Morocco said.
David Moresi, building manager of the Blackinton Mill, said the stolen goods included copper plumbing, electrical wire pipes and feeder cables. He estimated the scrap value taken was in the vicinity of $3,000, while the cost of damages is "anywhere between $65,000 to $80,000."
"We'll be looking to get full prosecution to the fullest extent of the law," Moresi said. "This band of thieves had been hitting [the mill] since last weekend, and they just kept going back. They set up shop like it was their job."
According to police reports, North Adams police stopped the suspects, who were passengers in a 2001 Chevy Cavalier, on Thursday night at approximately 8 p.m. in the Big Y parking lot.
"The North Adams Police was phenomenal on this," Moresi said. "You don't often catch copper thieves."
On Friday afternoon, Sgt. James Burdick said the break-ins were "still under investigation."
May 13: NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — State police and several K-9 units responded to "suspicious activity" late Thursday afternoon at the Blackinton Mill, located on the corner of Massachusetts Avenue and Ashton Avenue.
"[Police] thought somebody was inside, that someone had broken in," North Adams Police Sgt. James Foley said Thursday night. "They ended up searching the building and didn't end up locating anybody."
According to police reports, North Adams police first arrived at the scene at 2 p.m., and was soon followed by three more units.
By 3:30 p.m., two North Adams cruisers, Pittsfield K-9 and state police K-9 vehicles were parked on the east entrance of the mill, according to eye-witness accounts. A Williamstown K-9 unit was located on the west end, while two more North Adams cruisers were outside the north perimeter on Massachusetts Avenue.
Foley confirmed that "infrared heat sensors" were used in an attempt to find the alleged suspect. He said there are "several people of interest" who police suspect broke into the mill, but he couldn't reveal their identities.
According to the police report, the scene was cleared at 4:52 p.m.
The mill was recently sold to two New York developers with plans to turn it into a commercial and residential development.
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Car Hits House Porch in North Adams
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — A Williamstown woman was taken to North Adams Regional Hospital after the car she was driving ran into a porch on West main Street.
Debora A. Harmatz, 50, of Maple Street was westbound at about 2:40 p.m. when her 1996 black Saturn CP left the roadway and rammed into the steps leading up to a porch at 287 West Main St. residence.
A call reporting the crash was made by an employee at the nearby Melissa's Hair & Nail Salon. A nieghbor said he came outside when he heard a loud crash and saw the car.
The Police and Fire departments responded to the scene, as did the North Adams Ambulance. A dog that was in the vehicle reportedly jumped out after the crash and the animal control officer was called.
The Saturn suffered front-end damage and was towed from the scene by Dean's Quality Auto; the wooden steps were demolished and a joist knocked out from the porch, along with other damage. No word if the dog was recovered yet.
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Swift Storm Knocks Out Power
Cranwell Resort in Lenox tweeted us this photo of a large tree that fell after the storm came through. The pic was taken by the resort's director of sales, Dawn R. Jacobsson.
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Several sections of the county were hit by a fast-moving storm that downed trees and power lines. At 9 p.m., Western Mass. Electric Co. was reporting some 22,000 customers out of power in Berkshire, Hampden, Hampshire and Franklin counties.
The wind split this tree in Williamstown.
Nearly all of New Ashford was reported out of power and nearly half of nearby Lanesborough. The hilltowns, including Becket and Washington, weathered the storm better, with no reported outages.
National Grid reported minor, scattered outages throughout, with about 31 customers out of power on Florida Mountain.
One our readers reported traffic lights out in Pittsfield shortly after the storm moved through and Cranwell Resort sent a picture of a large tree down in its driveway. "Tree down on road on our property — Our topnotch crew is already on the scene, removing debris," the Lenox resort tweeted us. A section of a large tree in Williamstown near the Dunkin' Donuts on Main Street also came down in the storm.
"Every county in WMECo's service area is affected, with the most customers without power in the towns of Sunderland, Agawam, Ludlow, Springfield, West Springfield, Hadley and Southampton," according to a press statement from WMECo.
WMECo reminds residents to treat all wires as live and stay a minimum of 10 feet away. Even getting close to an energized wire can have deadly consequences. Call 911 or WMECo immediately.
Home generators should always be installed by a qualified electrician. Improperly installed generators can backfeed into our lines, which could be deadly to our workers.
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New Police Officers in North Adams
Officer Christopher Gelinas is sworn in by City Clerk Marilyn Gomeau in the City Council Chambers.
Two new police officers, Christopher Gelinas and Gregory Onorato, were sworn in at Tuesday's City Council meeting.
The two men have been working with the force as reserves for some time. They will bring the full-time force up to 24 officers, not including Police Director Michael Cozzaglio.
Mayor Richard Alcombright shakes hands with newly sworn in Officer Gregory Onorato.
With most recent session of the Police Academy training already under way, the two men have received waivers to work until the next session begins. The force currently has two men at the academy and two in military service overseas, including Officer Brandon Lane, who was sworn in in February.
Mayor Richard Alcombright has revived the tradition of welcoming and swearing-in new officers and firefighters at City Council meetings. Lane and firefighter Matthew Davis were the first to introduced under the new administration.
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North Adams to Get 2 Additional Police Officers
North Adams will soon have two additional full-time police officers, to be sworn in on Tuesday, April 13, at the City Council meeting.
According to an announcement issued by the office of Mayor Richard Alcombright, the move is "yet another step towards assuring that this new administration will continue to support law enforcement efforts with the end result being a safer community."
Other recent efforts to reduce crime include the development of a Neighborhood Crime Watch Program, which currently is underway with watch groups forming citywide.
Despite a "tight budget," Alcombright credited Commissioner of Public Safety E. John Morocco for his "creative methods that will allow this community to afford the new officers." According to the mayor's office, the city will use a state 911 grant to pay dispatchers' salaries, freeing up money in the budget for police salaries.
Commissioner Morocco stated that “while more police does not necessarily translate into an immediate reduction in crime, feet on the street are a very important to be certain that all shifts are properly staffed and that police can respond quickly and efficiently when multiple calls are being handled.”
Looking ahead, Alcombright said he hopes to implement methods of community policing, such as putting put police on bicycles and in neighborhoods this summer.
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