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North Adams Police Seeking Information on Break-Ins

NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — The Police Department is asking for assistance in investigating a number of break-ins in the Church Street area after another home was robbed Tuesday afternoon.

According to the department, it is working closely with the campus police at Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts Campus Police on multiple reports of homes burglarized in the areas around Church Street and Ashland Street.

"We would like to reach out to anyone who lives in the area that may have seen our possible suspects or who has video surveillance on their home," the department requested on its Facebook page.

The suspect or suspects may have been carrying televisions, monitors or computers.

On Tuesday, money and two televisions were taken from a home between noon and 1 p.m.

Two individuals possibly involved are described as white men standing 5-foot-7 to 5-foot-9. One was wearing dark jeans, dark long-sleeve shirt and a ball cap. The second  was wearing orange or red shorts and a white T-shirt, and had facial stubble and blonde or red hair with a recent close crew cut.

They were last seen running in the area of Hoosac Hall at MCLA off Highland Avenue.

There was a separate report of a home having been entered on Elmwood Avenue sometime between Aug. 17 and Aug. 18 when a television was taken.

Police are asking homeowners to not publicly disclose that they have knowledge of the incidents or that they may have footage of the individuals but to contact the North Adams Police Department and request to speak with an officer.

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Superior Court Briefs: Aug. 18.

Staff Reports
Cases heard before Judge Daniel Ford on Thursday, August 18.
 
William Fiske III, 27, of Pittsfield had not guilty pleas entered on his behalf on two counts of assault and battery and single counts of armed assault with intent to murder, breaking and entering a building in the daytime, assault by means of a dangerous weapon, larceny from a building, violation of a restraining order, threat to commit a crime, negligent operation of a motor vehicle, vandalize property, operating a motor vehicle with a suspended license, and failure to stop for a police officer.
 
He also entered not guilty pleas on three counts of assault and battery on a correction officer, and a single count of threat to commit a crime. 
 
He was ordered to be held at the Berkshire County House of Correction on $7,500 bail.
 
The first set of charges stemmed from an incident in Pittsfield on March 23, 2016 and involved a 54-year-old man and two women, ages 20 and 22. The other charges related to an incident at the Berkshire County House of Correction on May 5, 2016.
 
David Taylor, 22, of Adams had a not guilty plea entered on his behalf on a single count of armed assault with intent to rob a person 60 years of age of older.
 
He was ordered to be held at the Berkshire County House of Correction on $25,000 bail. Taylor is accused of attempting to rob a 67-year-old woman at Quadland's Flowers and Gifts in North Adams on June 21, 2016. 
 
Michael Taylor, 56, of Pittsfield had not guilty pleas entered on his behalf on single counts of possession of cocaine with intent to distribute - his second offense - illegal possession of a firearm, and illegal possession of a loaded firearm.
 
He was ordered to be held at the Berkshire County House of Correction on $10,000 bail. The charges stem from an incident in Pittsfield on July 11, 2016.
 
David White, 53, of Adams had not guilty pleas entered on his behalf on single counts of operating under the influence - his fifth offense - leaving the scene of property damage, negligent operation of a motor vehicle, operating an uninsured motor vehicle, and operating a motor vehicle with a suspended license - his second offense.
 
He was ordered to be held at the Berkshire County House of Correction on $5,000 bail. The charges stem from an incident in Adams on March 24, 2016.
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Adams Man Pleads Not Guilty to Attempted Quadlands Robbery

NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — The man accused of robbing Quadlands Flowers & Gifts in June is being held on $25,000 bail.

David J. Taylor, 22, of Old Columbia Street in Adams, pleaded not guilty on Thursday afternoon in Superior Court in Pittsfield of a single count of armed assault with intent to rob a person 60 years of age or older.

Judge Daniel Ford ordered that he be held at the Berkshire County House of Correction.

Taylor is accused of entering the flower shop on Holden Street at about 9:30 a.m. on June 20 and brandishing a handgun at the sales clerk that had been tucked in his waistband. He did not get any money and no one was injured.

The investigation was conducted by members of the North Adams Police Department.

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Williamstown Man Sentenced in Child Sex Abuse Case

WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — A local man was sentenced Monday in U.S. District Court in Springfield in connection with persuading a 16-year-old boy to travel to New York three years ago to engage in sexual activity.

Ronald S. Brown, 53, was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Mark G. Mastroianni to 15 years in prison and 10 years of supervised release.

In November 2015, he pleaded guilty to one count of interstate travel with intent to engage in illicit sexual conduct with a minor and one count of possession of material involving the sexual exploitation of minors.

Brown, a registered sex offender based upon a prior conviction for a sexual assault of a 14-year-old, engaged in thousands of online interactions with a 16-year-old boy between Dec. 27, 2012, and Jan. 19, 2013, to persuade him to run away from his Midwestern home to engage in sexual activity.  

On Jan. 7, 2013, Brown sent the boy a one-way ticket to fly to Newark International Airport in New Jersey, and on Jan. 19, 2013, Brown picked the boy up at the Newark airport, and then transported him to New York to engage in sex. On three separate dates, Brown also sexually exploited the teenager by producing visual images of the minor engaging in lewd and lascivious conduct.

The boy was recovered in New York after his mother alerted police that her son was missing and believed to be meeting with Brown.  During an interview on Jan. 20, 2013, Brown falsely told a federal agent that he believed the child to be 18 years old.

U.S. Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz and Harold H. Shaw, special agent in charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Boston Field Division, made the announcement. The case was investigated with assistance from the Massachusetts State Police, the Williamstown Police Department and the New York State Police.  It was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Steven H. Breslow of Ortiz's Springfield Branch Office.

The case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative designed to protect children from exploitation and abuse. 

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Rescuers Recover Hiker's Body in Monument Mountain Reservation

GREAT BARRINGTON, Mass. — The body of a missing hiker was recovered early Saturday morning from Monument Mountain Reservation after an eight-hour search and four-hour recovery operation.

The hiker was identified as Joan Sussman, age 67, of Ashley Falls. Family members said she was a frequent climber and regularly hiked Monument Mountain.

Fire Chief Charles Burger said the operation began as a rescue after Sussman called in to say she was injured and was at the top of the mountain.

Rescuers from the Great Barrington Fire Department and Southern Berkshire Ambulance were dispatched to the mountain at 3:18 p.m. A GPS ping showed the last known location as Squaw Peak, but the call was soon dropped and subsequent calls by dispatchers and rescuers went unanswered.

Because of the steep and rocky terrain, the Sheffield and Egremont Fire Departments were called in for additional manpower and for the department's additional all-terrain vehicles. The Western Massachusetts Technical Rescue Team was also activated. No one was found.

Searches along all of the trails proved unsuccessful. A strong thunderstorm rolled through with torrential rain, making hiking more dangerous.

Police K-9 units and the state police arrived on scene later on. The State Police Air Wing was requested but unable to fly because of weather conditions.

She was found at 10 p.m. on a rock cropping and was pronounced dead at the scene.

A delicate recovery operation then began using multiple crews and rope systems in the darkness. The hiker's body was finally removed from the scene at 2:30 a.m. Saturday.

"This is an extremely unfortunate situation. On behalf of the entire community and the Great Barrington Fire Department, I offer my sincerest condolences to the family and friends of the victim," Burger said. "I am very proud of the hard work conducted by our crews, working through the night in poor weather to find and ultimately recover the victim. We wish the outcome was different, however."

The Great Barrington Police and Fire departments, the Sheffield and Egremont fire departments, the state police, the Western Mass. Technical Rescue Team, the Berkshire County sheriff's office, and Southern Berkshire Ambulance all responded. In total, 65 rescuers were on  scene.

Monument Mountain is a popular hiking spot where the Fire Department performs multiple rescues each year. This was the second rescue effort performed in the past week. On Aug. 5, firefighters rescued a 22-year-old hiker who injured her ankle on the mountain.

The Stockbridge and Monterey fire departments provided station coverage for Great Barrington during the incident and responded to several other incidents.

The incident is under investigation by the Police Department.

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