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Pittsfield Man Arrested in Llama Killings

Staff Reports

LENOX, Mass. — Lenox Police say they have arrested a Pittsfield man who admits to the killing of two llamas last November at River Valley Farm.

Jared Dinicola, 19, of Marian Street, Pittsfield, was arrested Thursday, July 15, and is being held in the custody of the Lenox Police in lieu $5,000 cash bail until his arraignment later this morning in Central Berkshire District Court. He is being charged with two counts of killing an animal.

He was arrested by Lenox Police Officer Gary Lagarce.

According to a message from Police Chief Stephen E. O'Brien early Friday morning:

On July 14th Officer Lagarce conducted an interview with an individual that had information that Dinicola was the shooter and other persons were present at the time of the shooting.  On the 15th Officer Lagarce conducted 3 more interviews revealing that Dinicola was indeed the shooter. Lastly, also on the 15th, Dinicola was arrested, interviewed, and admitted his involvement in the killings. It appears Dinicola shot one arrow killing both Llamas. Everyone that was interviewed consistently referenced alcohol being involved and that Dinicola was the sole participant in the death of the llamas.

The llamas, Chocolate and Prada, were found shot by bow and arrow by owner Lisa Dachinger on Sunday morning, Nov. 8, 2010, 2009, at the New Lenox Road farm.

The young llamas were part of an extended family at the farm, which now has nine llamas (known as the Bouncers) and several breeds of sheep. Dachinger manages the farm with her three children, including her daughter Jennifer Petricca, who is the livestock manager.

Rewards were posted by radio talk personality Sherman Baldwin and the Berkshire County League of Sportsmen. (Michael Jester, president of the league, wrote in The Berkshire Eagle comment section that the total amount raised by his group is $1,625.) Baldwin, who has since left the area, said the reward money collected would remain uncashed in Pittsfield until the perpetrator was found.

"We are aware of a reward which was posted at the inception of this investigation, but are not involved with the collection of funds or their disbursement and assume that it is only available upon a successful conviction," said O'Brien.

The investigation involved regular collaboration between the Lenox Police, Trooper Brian Berkel of the Massachusetts State Police Detective Unit, the Pittsfield Police, and Massachusetts Environmental Police. 

Updated at 2:10 p.m.:  Lenox Police say Dinicola was arraigned in Pittsfield and had his case transferred to Southern Berkshire District Court in Great Barrington; he is scheduled to a appear there next Friday, July 23.

We also talked to Sherman Baldwin, now hosting a radio talk show in Sarasota, Fla. At his last news conference, Baldwin had said the checks received toward the reward would remain uncashed. He'd collected about $3,600 that included money he'd donated.

But he decided he didn't want to leave any loose ends.

"I notified everybody I was destroying the checks. Someone gave me $50 cash and I spent two days tracking this person down to return it," said Baldwin. "I figured it was kind of a dead issue. I did it all in the spirit of goodness. I was shocked when John Krol contacted me about this morning."

The former TalkBerkshires host says he's not sure what to do at this point about the reward and is mulling some options.

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Fake $10 Bills Buy Charges for North Adams Man

By Patrick Ronan

NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — A North Adams man was arrested Monday night after allegedly  trying to pass counterfeit money at local businesses throughout the day.

Anthony Mejias, 29, of Hall Street, was arraigned on three counts of uttering counterfeit notes and one count of possession of more than 10 counterfeit notes Tuesday morning at Northern Berkshire District Court. He was also arraigned on four separate charges related to a break-in on Eagle Street that occurred on Sunday.

The additional charges include larceny under the amount of $250, destruction of property over $250, breaking and entering for misdemeanor and attempting to commit a crime (breaking and entering).

On Monday, Mejias was apprehended by police at approximately 9 p.m. on Walnut Street after reports that he tried to use a fake $10 bill at Dairy Queen, located at 465 Curran Memorial Highway. Earlier in the day, at approximately 2:25 p.m., police were alerted that a man tried to pass fake $10 bills at Lopardo's Package Store, located at 8 River St.

According to police reports, Mejias was seen entering Domino's Pizza, at 1 River St., and the Shell gas station, at 458 Curran Memorial Highway, during the day. There has been no confirmation that he tried to use fake money at those locations.

Mejias was held on $5,000 bail Monday night.

Sgt. James Foley said the notes resembled a legitimate $10 bill at first glance, but a closer look revealed they were obviously counterfeit.

"You could tell they were fake by the feel of them and by the look of them," Foley said.

It's unknown how Mejias created the counterfeit currency, according to Foley. The sergeant said there is "no indication" that Mejias successfully used any of his fake bills to complete a local business transaction.

"We get [these reports] every once and a while," Foley said. "They usually make them on a copy machine, and they usually get caught."

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Supreme Surprise for Alleged Robber

Staff Reports

NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Workers at Supreme Pizza halted a robbery on Monday night at about 7:30.

A man reportedly entered the pizzeria at the corner of Main and Eagle streets and demanded money. When the clerk refused and called for help from cooks and staff, the man reportedly grabbed the register and tried to run. He was tackled by the workers and arrested within minutes by police.

Robert M. MacDonald, 32, of West Pine Street, Adams, has so far been charged with malicious destruction of property more than $250 (the cash register). The incident is still under investigation.

Update: June 29, 2010

MacDonald was held on $10,000 bail on Monday night. He was charged in Northern Berkshire District Court on Tuesday with armed robbery; assault and battery with a dangerous weapon; assault and batter, and destruction of property more than $250.

The defendant had a folding knife with a 4-inch blade in his pocket, prompting the armed robbery charge, although police say he did not remove it from his pocket. MacDonald reportedly ripped the computerized cash register out, damaging the machine and wiring and hitting the young woman clerk in the process, according to Sgt. James Foley.

He was belligerent when he entered the pizzeria, according to employees, and demanded money from the clerk. When he pulled out the register, he headed for the Main Street entrance but three of the cooks jumped into action and tackled him before he reached the door.

 

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Washington Crash Kills One

Staff Reports

WASHINGTON, Mass. — A young man was killed early Saturday morning, June 26, in a single-car crash on Blotz Road.

State police say Chad Beeler, 26, was operating a 1989 Ford Mustang eastbound on Blotz Road when the car went off the road and rolled over, partially ejecting Beeler.

The crash was reported at 5:38 a.m. and troopers assigned to the Cheshire barracks responded to the scene. Beeler was fatally injured and pronounced dead at the scene. No further information was immediately available.

The preliminary investigation was done by Trooper Hanna Harbour and the circumstances of the crash remain under investigation by Troop B, with the assistance of the Collision Analysis Reconstruction Section and Crime Scene Services Section.
 



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Truck Fire Shuts Down Section of Mohawk Trail

Staff Reports

NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — A truck caught fire on the Mohawk Trail late Thursday afternoon, prompting police to close off a portion of Route 2 for about an hour and a half.

North Adams Police and Fire departments responded to the blaze, which occurred about a quarter-mile east of West Shaft Road.

North Adams Fire Director Steve Meranti said there were no injuries, and that the fire was contained to the tractor portion of the vehicle and did not spread to the trailer. He said the cause was most likely "a mechanical malfunction."

At approximately 4:30 p.m., two Dean's Quality Auto trucks arrived for cleanup and towing. Meranti expected the road to be re-opened by 5:30 p.m.

Check back later for more information.

Update at 7:04 p.m.

The truck, which was eastbound on Route 2,  was a white 2000 Sterling semi tractor-trailer driven by Edward J. St. John, 68,  of Royalston and owned by Kenneth D. Pratt, operating as Pratt Transport of Winchendon. The trailer is owned by B&B Truck Leasing of Jefferson, Maine.

Ambulances were dispatched but St. John was not taken to the hospital.

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