APB on Fugitive Convict
Mass. state troopers are on the lookout for one Manson Brown, a 51-year-old convicted armed robber who escaped from the Old Colony Correctional Center in Bridgewater on the late afternoon of Friday, Nov. 27.
The state police have called out the Air Wing and K-9 units in addition to officers from the Department of Corrections and troopers assigned to the State Police Violent-Fugitive Apprehension Section.
Brown is described as 5-foot-8 and approximately 145 pounds. He often wears eyeglasses and is said to be "extremely physically fit." He also likes to play chess (though we're not sure why this was important to his description.)
A report on America's Most Wanted stated that Brown has been indicted in a 1996 home invasion and rape in Middlesex County based on DNA evidence. Those charges, which would send Brown to a maximum security prison and negate his chance for parole in 2012, may have prompted his flight.
Brown was currently serving a 10-year sentence handed down in 2005 for armed robbery, home invasion, and weapons charges.
Investigators have followed leads in Massachusetts and other states. Anyone who sees Brown should not approach him, but immediately call 911. Anyone with information about Brown's whereabouts is urged to call state police at 508-820-2121.
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Car Accident Victim Charged With B&E
WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — A Pittsfield man reportedly tossed into the air by a moving vehicle on Thursday afternoon fled the scene to hide out in a nearby basement, stopping first to provision himself with the homeowner's iPod, cell phone and beer, said police.
Mahadi S. Thompson, 28, of Peck's Road was charged with single counts each of breaking and entering in the daytime and larceny from a building. He was released on personal recognizance.
Thompson "was less than cooperative with police regarding the motor vehicle incident," according to police; the vehicle and driver involved have not been identified.
A motorist westbound on Green River Road saw a man believed to be Thompson struck or thrown from a vehicle at about 2 p.m. near the Hopper Road intersection. She called 911 to report seeing a man "fly through the air" and apparently knocked out of his shoes, which were lying in the middle of the road.
The victim, described as black and wearing a sweat shirt, ran up to her car and asked for a ride to the hospital. When the motorist told him she was calling 911, the victim ran up the road and then through a yard and disappeared behind some nearby homes, said police.
Police responding to the scene were told by several homeowners they'd seen a man matching the victim's description run through their yards. After a brief search failed to turn up the victim, the town's K-9 Unit (Blue the bloodhound and Officer Michael Ziemba) were called in.
Blue used the scent from the shoes to track the victim from behind the homes and back out to the road, where a man's tracks could be seen in the mud. A resident of a home close by said a family member had just returned home to discover a cottage on the property locked up. The cottage had been left unlocked when the family member had left a few hours before.
Police said Thompson was found in a basement closet, along with iPod and cell phone taken from the family's personal effects as well as a beer from the refrigerator.
He was treated by Village Ambulance personnel and taken to North Adams Regional Hospital for injuries sustained in the accident.
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New Crime Watch Site
Clarksburg and Stamford, Vt., residents can now keep up with local crime-watch events through a new Web site, Neighborhood Watch.
The site includes feeds of a Facebook page created shortly after several reported burglaries in the two towns, contact information for the two town's crime watch groups, how to report a crime and tips to prevent becoming a victim.
To post to the site, you must become a fan of Town Crime Watch on Facebook.
According to a post on the site, Clarksburg Community Watch members are planning a $1,000 reward for the arrest and conviction of what they believe is a second burglar.
Police say Stefan Veremko of Pittsfield is connected to multiple break-ins in the county, including at least two of the four recent ones in Clarksburg. His girlfriend, Tara Malloy, a former Clarksburg resident, has been cooperating with police and is expected to be charged as well.
Vermont State Police say Veremko will also be charged with two break-ins in Readsboro, two in Searsburg and one in Stamford. Stamford has had two recent break-ins.
A number of Clarksburg residents believe that another person is responsible for those burglaries so far not connected to Veremko.
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Clarksburg Selectman Responds
We received this letter from Clarksburg Selectman Carl McKinney on the recent break-ins. Rather than just post it in our letters section, or on the multiple stories we decided to post it here with links back to it.
First and foremost, I would like to both express my sympathy and empathy to those folks whose homes were violated and robbed. I know from first hand the feeling. In 1976, we were robbed. Clarksburg really didn't have a Police Department; we had a constable and deputy. They did the best they could. But my Father did not go down to the Selectmen and blame them. Things happen. And society is changing.
The Clarksburg Police Department has been working on these cases tirelessly, and I know Chief Mike [Willliams] has been putting in 16 hour days. Thank God he's on salary. I know he has been in contact with the district attorney, the Massachusetts State Police Crime Unit, the Berkshire County Drug Task Force and neighboring community police
departments. This is how it is either going to be solved…or not. There are no guarantees, and throwing money at the problem will not necessarily result in a different outcome.
I applaud the creation of Crime Watch Units. When we had a B&E last spring in the East and Daniels roads area, many people came to complain. The Chief offered to assist them with the creation of a Crime Watch. After the break-in was settled, that was it - no more communication, no interest, and that's where it was left. If a community watch is to be successful, it will require determination, co-operation, co-ordination and communication…for the long haul;.
Much has been made and said about the furloughs. We had to cut 5 percent in that area of the budget. We had 3 options: A) Institute major layoffs (as it was we eliminated a Library Aide). B) Cut all Town Employee wages 5 percent and make them work the full 52 weeks; or C) Furlough the employees and keep their jobs intact, their salaries and benefits intact. We chose C.
Over the last seven years, the School Budget has increased on an average of $67,000 per year. The Town side of the budget has gone down over those seven years, hitting a low of $790,000 (from $1,000,000) a 21 percent reduction ... gradually going up to $990,000 last year, and reduced to $919,000 this year. We are still able to provide good services on a reduced funding schedule.
Much ill-informed diatribe has also been spewed about the "high taxes" in Clarksburg. That's HOGWASH. Clarksburg has the fourth lowest tax burden per household in all of Berkshire County. And we are between a quarter or a third of the property taxes they pay in Vermont, New York AND New Hampshire.
The lowest tax town is Hancock. But they have ski resorts, and TIME SHARE CONDOS. Those folks pay taxes on those condos but do not use the school system. Next is Florida. They have $90 MILLION in commercial tax base for the
hydroelectric generating facilities within their boarders.
Next is Egremont (I believe, don't hold me to it), and I do not know what their deal is, nd then there is Clarksburg. And all we have is each other. We have no grand taxing ability. Although the Town of Clarksburg could raise taxes 35 percent and not even hit Proposition 2 1/2. We choose not to; 30 percent of our homeowners are elderly folks living on fixed incomes. I know for a fact that there are elderly folks living in cold houses, and using public food security programs to survive. A dollar or two on the tax rate means a lot to those folks.
I do not think throwing money at every problem is the answer. And even if we wanted to throw more money at it…we would have to have a Town Meeting. How many of you even attended this spring's Town Meeting? Did you standup and request more money from your neighbors for the Police Department? I do not recall anyone doing that. Yet you want to hijack the town government, with a pistol and an attitude, and think you can do better. I don't think so. Let the Police do their job.
Carl W. McKinney
Clarksburg Selectmen Member
P.S. I do not post anonymously. When I write something I sign it with my name. You people hiding behind your keyboard and anonymously spreading fear, and anxiety, and misinformation…and sometimes outright lies sickens me.
To All Others:Happy Holidays Folks
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Update at 2:47 p.m.: Town Administrator Michael Canales has informed us that the utility company will not give permission to post crime watch signs on its poles because of liability issues.
However, "if people have signs they want posted, they can bring them to Town Hall, myself or Chief Williams, and let us know what street they want them on and we will place them on street sign posts," says Canales.
I wasn't able to get to Lenox on Thursday but the story appeared in both The Transcript and The Eagle this morning. It should be available here for about a week.
At least one Clarksburg couple, Valerie and John Wilson, found personal property in the hundreds of items taken from the arrest of Stefan Veremko.
There's been a lot of talk about Veremko not being charged in the Clarksburg burglaries. This may be jurisictional; he may have to be arraigned in Northern Berkshire District Court. If it's a matter of "receiving stolen goods," they not have to charge him up here. I'm trying to find that out.
There's also been questions of why Clarksburg is continually left off the list of towns in which the break-ins have happened. This is an error promulgated by the first press release from Lenox that omitted the town. The newspapers keep running the incorrect list (cut & paste?).
Next: Veremko's believed to involved in two to four break-ins; there have been six in Clarksburg since September. At least two break-ins he's not suspected in because of what was taken and the seeming familiarity the perpretator had with the home. (I read "friend or family member" in that.)
I also received this from the Stamford Community Watch regarding reports of break-ins on Hudson and Pine in Clarksburg:
"Regarding Pine Ave. & Hudson Brook. It has been reported that there has been "suspicious" circumstances at a home on each street recently. Homeowners reported that there were unusual things at the houses, mainly with an outside entrance. Again, we don't have reports of a break-in, just that they indicated unusual circumstances."
Still have a call into Vermont state police; still haven't gotten back to me.
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