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Hoosac Valley High Informs Parents of Facebook Threat

CHESHIRE, Mass. — School officials say they are working with local law enforcement on strengthening school security after a described "threat" was made on Facebook. 
 
Superintendent Robert Putnam did provide information on the nature of the threat, when it occurred or how it was brought to the school's attention. A letter was sent home with Hoosac Valley High and Middle School students on Thursday, the first day of school.
 
"A threat was made on Facebook that could have potentially impacted Hoosac Valley High School," he wrote. "We have been working closely with Adams Police Department, the Cheshire Police Department, and the state police since Monday to craft and implement a plan that strengthens our ongoing efforts to ensure a safe school environment. 
 
"Together with our law enforcement partners we are confident that we are ready to address all safety concerns at arrival, departure, and throughout the day."
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Windsor Man Shot In Parking Lot of Pittsfield Restaurant

Staff Reports
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — A Windsor man was shot in the parking lot of a Seymour Street restaurant Tuesday night.
 
Police say at about 8:51 p.m. officers were dispatched to a home on Dartmouth Street for a disturbance. Shortly after, were called to Vong's Restaurant for a reported shooting.
 
There, officers found 33-year-old Shane Brennan, of Windsor, had been shot twice in the pelvic area. The investigation has linked both the Dartmouth Street disturbance and the shooting together.
 
Brennan was taken to Berkshire Medical Center. Lanesborough Police and Massachusetts State Police also assisted with the investigation. The incident is currently under investigation by Pittsfield Police.
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Lipton Mart On Elm Street in Pittsfield Robbed At Gunpoint

Staff Reports
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Lipton Mart on Elm Street was robbed at gunpoint Tuesday night.
 
Police say at about 10:44 p.m. two black men, dressed in dark clothing hooded sweatshirts and ski masks and standing about six-foot-one inch to six-foot-two inches tall, robbed the store at gun point.
 
An undisclosed amount of cash was taken. The robbery is currently under investigation.
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Police Detect 'Large Scale' Credit Fraud Through Gas Pump Skimmers

Staff Reports

Images of a card receiver, left, and one with a skimmer, right, from the Minnesota Department of Commerce.
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — A "large scale" credit card fraud operation was detected in the city.
 
Police say skimming devices were found inside two local gas pumps, at both Lipton Marts at 580 North St. and 460 South St. Police said it is not known how long the devices had been in place nor how much credit card information was stolen.
 
Police say the number of locations with such devices could increase as authorities worked to inspect gas pumps throughout the city.
 
The devices take credit card information when the cards are scanned and pass it along to third parties. The devices have been removed from both locations, eliminating the risk of further theft. However, residents who have used those pumps are asked to check their records and "be vigilant for signs of fraud."
 
Should residents find signs of fraud, they are asked to contact their bank first and then the Pittsfield Police Department at 413-448-9705.
 
Police say similar devices were found on gas pumps in Great Barrington and if anyone sees fraudulent activity from either of those to contact Police in that town.
 
PC Magazine did an article last year on how to identify a skimmer at an ATM or gas pump. 
 
Area businesses which operate the "Gilbarco Advantage" or the "Gilbarco Encore" pumps are asked to check their equipment as well because it appears those particular pumps were targeted.
 
Lipton Energy is reportedly cooperating with the investigation but cannot assist customers with questions about the investigation. Gas pumps throughout the city will be inspected by the end of Wednesday. 
 
Massachusetts State Police, the Massachusetts Division of Standards, and local authorities are working the investigation.
 
Correction: an earlier version stated that skimmers were found in Lee but Lee Police say that is incorrect.
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Gasoline Smell Brings Williamstown Fire Department to College Dorm

by Stephen Dravis
iBerkshires Staff

Fire Department personnel check out the source of the odor, a hole that is part of a steam tunnel replacement project.
 
WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — The Fire Department plans to investigate the construction work that appears to have produced a smell of gasoline in the mechanical room of a Williams College dormitory.
 
Fire Chief Craig Pedercini said the smell appeared to be related to the use of gasoline by a contractor working on a steam line replacement project on West Lawn, to the west of Morgan Hall, a 100-bed residence hall at the corner of Spring and Main Streets that currently is not occupied.
 
After evaluating the situation for nearly two hours, Pedercini said there was no fire or health issue, but the Fire Department and college were employing fans to push the odor out of Morgan Hall and prevent it from infiltrating nearby West College, a 45-room Main Street dorm to the west of the steam tunnel replacement work.
 
The report was called in to the fire station at about 5:55 on Thursday evening.
 
"The first arriving officers investigated and found they did have an odor of gasoline in the building," Pedercini said.
 
"What we’re finding out now is that the contractor was doing some work, and there was a need to use Styrofoam as part of it, and, apparently, a need to remove the Styrofoam. And they used gasoline, it sounds like, to dissolve the Styrofoam away from the pipe. The odor is just lingering in that hole and that steam vault."
 
Pedercini said he did not believe that it was standard practice to use gasoline that manner.
 
"No," he said. "I would say no. There will be more looked into that part, but it’s not kosher to me at all."
 
All of the gasoline use was outside the building, in the hole dug for the steam tunnel project, Pedercini said.
 
"You can see where they were using it," he said. "The vapors will hang in that ditch and find a nook or a crack or if there’s a pipe running [into the building] and there’s a little space round it, the vapors will seep through."
 
There were a half-dozen people in Morgan Hall when the alarm sounded. The building was cleared by the time firefighters arrived, Pedercini said.
 
"It’s not full of kids yet," he said. "It’s kind of nice that if it’s going to happen, it happen now.
 
"It’s unfortunate, but I think it’s a poor practice [to use gasoline in that manner]. I’ll be investigating it, and I’m sure the college will want to know why they were doing it."
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