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Slew Of Car Break-ins Moves From Williamstown To Pownal

Staff Reports

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POWNAL, Vt. — The rash of car break-ins that hit Williamstown, Mass. earlier this month has crossed the border.

Vermont State Police reported Monday 21 reports of unlocked cars being broken into during the weekend. Sergeant Brian Turner said the Vermont Fusion Center, a collaboration of law enforcement agencies, advised police that the two sprees could be linked because of the similarities.

"It could be up to 30 or 40 cars that were broken into," Turner said Monday. "They were all unlocked."

Similar to the Williamstown, Mass. break-ins, locked cars were not touched, items are being found on the side of the road near the incident and the stolen items range from money to electronics to personal items.

The thefts occurred between midnight and 6 a.m. Sunday on Barber Pond, Puddingstone, Middle Pownal, and Maple Grove roads.

"We're getting some tips in that we have to follow up on and we do have suspects," Turner said. "It's kind of like they are walking and just taking what they want." Earlier this month,

Williamstown, Mass. Police Chief Kyle Johnson said 22 unlocked vehicles were broken into and money, electronics – like GPS systems and digital cameras – and personal items were stolen. In some cases, personal effects were found on the roadside a short distance away.

According to Johnson, the vehicles were entered overnight in 16 locations including Main Street, North Street, Lindley Terrace, Buckley Street, Jamieson Heights, Porter Street, Belden Street, Henderson Road, North Hoosac Road, Sand Springs Road, Summer Street and Walnut Street.


Williamstown Experiences Slew of Vehicle Break-ins

Original Post: By: Staff Reports On: 11:26AM / Monday April 04, 2011


View Williamstown Car Break-Ins 2011 in a larger map

WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — Police continue to field reports of stolen items from unlocked cars during the weekend.

Police Chief Kyle Johnson said as of Monday 22 unlocked vehicles were broken into over the weekend and reports keep coming. Money, electronics - like GPS systems and digital cameras - and personal items were stolen. In some cases, personal effects were found on the roadside a short distance away.

Johnson said police currently do not have any leads in finding the culprit and asks that suspicious activity is reported immediately.

According to Johnson, the vehicles were entered overnight in 16 locations around town, including Main Street, North Street, Lindley Terrace, Buckley Street, Jamieson Heights, Porter Street, Belden Street, Henderson Road, North Hoosac Road, Sand Springs Road, Summer Street and Walnut Street.

Police are urging residents to remove all valuables and secure their vehicles.

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Bomb Squad Detonates Device in Clarksburg

Staff Reports

CLARKSBURG, Mass. — The state police hazardous unit exploded a suspicious device discovered at a Clarksburg home on Tuesday.

"They detonated a device that appeared to be a homemade IED," said Chief Michael Williams. The device was taken to the sandbanks behind the Senior Center on Cross Road and blown up shortly before noon. The blast reportedly shook the center.

Williams said the residents of the home on Middle Road discovered the device on the property. The bomb squad was contacted to investigate and "they determined that they were just going to do a detonation because they didn't want to transport it for safety reasons."

He described as looking like "something somebody made." Nothing further of a suspicious nature was found or removed, said Williams.

The state fire marshal's office confirmed the bomb squad was called for report of an explosive device at the Middle Road home at about 9 a.m. and arrived to assist Clarksburg police.

"They found a device that they felt needed to be removed from the home and rendered it safe," said Jennifer Mieth, spokeswoman for the state fire marshal's office. Mieth said the term IED, or improvised explosive device, means it was not a military-made device.

This is the third time in three years a hazardous unit has been called to North Berkshire. The first was in May 2008 after a bank robber dropped what appeared to be an explosive device on the sidewalk in front of Hoosac Bank in North Adams. The device was detonated at the gravel bank off Curran Highway. Investigators believed the device was military-grade C4 based on images taken by the squad's robot.

The second time was this past December when a large black gym bag was spotted under Veterans Memorial Bridge. The squad took X-rays of the bag and cleared it as safe. It was full of dirty clothes and had been stolen from a local laundromat.

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Superior Court Briefs: April 12 - April 13

Andy McKeever

Cases heard before Judge Daniel Ford on Tuesday, April 12.

Tina Urban, 26, of Wilbraham had not guilty pleas entered on her behalf on single counts of trafficking in heroin and conspiracy to violate drug laws.

Urban was released on $1,000 cash or $10,000 surety bail. The charges stem from a motor vehicle stop in Richmond on Feb. 7.

Lawrence Taylor, 33, of Pittsfield had not guilty pleas entered on his behalf on two counts of intimidation of a witness and two counts of threat to commit a crime: to wit: murder.

Taylor was released on personal recognizance on the condition that he have no contact with the alleged victims. It is alleged that Taylor threatened two witnesses in a pending criminal case on Jan. 2.

Glen Chadwell, 38, of Pittsfield had not guilty pleas entered on his behalf on two counts of failing to register as a sex offender - his second offense.

Chadwell was released on $1,250 bail.

Cases heard before Judge Daniel Ford on Wednesday, April 13

Willie McNeil, 31, of Pittsfield pleaded guilty to single counts of kidnapping, assault and battery by means of a dangerous weapon, aggravated assault and battery and violation of a restraining order.

McNeil was given a suspended two and a half year sentence to the Berkshire County House of Correction on the assault and battery by means of a dangerous weapon and violation of a restraining order. He was also placed on five years probation on the condition that he continues treatment with the Department of Mental Health, not live in Pittsfield and have no contact with the victim. The kidnapping and aggravated assault and battery charges were placed on file.

Additional charges of burning a dwelling house and armed assault with intent to murder were continues without a change of plea for five years. The charges stem from an incident on January, 23, 2010 involving a 28-year-old woman.

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Barn Filled With Antiques Burns In Williamstown

By Andy McKeever

A two-story barn filled with antiques owned by James Montepare was reduced to a pile of debris by fire Saturday.

 

Blustery winds expanded the fire from the barn to the garage, which also stored antiques.

WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — A fire destroyed thousands of dollars worth of antiques Saturday on McLain Court.

A two-story barn, a shed and a garage filled with antiques owned by North Adams Public Schools Superintendent James Montepare burnt to the ground.

For five hours, firefighters from Williamstown and Pownal, Vt. battled gusting winds to snuff out the fully engulfed structure fire. There were no injuries and the cause is still unknown.

"I used these two structures for storage and refurbishing," Montepare, who owns three antique stores, said on Sunday. "I can't say enough about the fire departments and how hard they work."

Montepare said he started a small fire in a woodstove in the barn Saturday morning and shortly after noon he saw smoke billowing out the second story windows.

"I did have a small fire going in the woodstove but I don't know if that was the cause," Montepare said. "I closed [the stove] up and everything seemed to be fine."

The building was already so engulfed that Montepare could not enter the barn but he did remove as much flammable material as he could out of the structures and turned the gas off while firefighters were on their way.

Nobody was in the barn when it ignited; Montepare and his wife, Carole, were inside the house. The blustery winds spread the fire from the barn to the garage and ignited a small brush fire on the hillside behind the buildings.

"It was windy and that was a huge factor," Montepare said. "It started going up the mountain."

Montepare is hoping his homeowner's insurance will cover what he called "a total loss." Montepare did not have an exact dollar amount but said he lost thousands of dollars worth of antiques and tools.

Montepare refurbishes and sells antiques as a hobby and the barn was used for storage and as a workspace. Many of the antiques that were destroyed were expected to stock an expanded Empire Antiques on Main Street. Montepare and Keith Bona, owner of Creations, are planning on expanding the store in the Main Street Stage location to accommodate more of Montepare's merchandise.

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Future of Eagle Street Storefront Unknown After Arrest

Andy McKeever

NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — It is unknown what will happen with the Eagle Street Music storefront in the wake of the proprietor's recent arrest.

Matthew D. Berger, who opened the music store last month, was arrested last week on charges of distribution of oxycodone and oxymorphone. The store has been closed since and landlord Eric Rudd said he does not know what will become of it.

"I'm less than happy about the situation. They have a lease and so far have not contacted me," Rudd, who was out of the country when the arrest was made, said in an e-mail Friday.

Berger pleaded not guilty last Tuesday to five charges of distribution of a Class B drug after a Berkshire County Drug Task Force investigation that began last December. He was released on $5,000 cash bail.

Rudd said Berger's father signed a lease for the storefront and on Monday the store was still stocked. The store sold music equipment and accessories and the rear of the space, in the flatirion building, was to be used for private music lessons.

Berger had been on the police radar well before the store's opening. Police said they were tipped off that he was selling prescription drugs, and performed a series of controlled buys as well as watched him at the store. He was arrested inside the shop last Monday.

He also faces possession charges in New York state after New York State troopers said they found a pill grinder and straws containing hydrocodone and oxycodone.

Berger was not available for comment as of Monday.

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