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Superior Court Briefs: May 3 - May 11

Staff Reports
Cases heard before Judge John Agostini on Tuesday, May 3.
 
Joseph Wiggins Jr., 39, of Pittsfield pleaded guilty to single counts of possession of ammunition without a firearm identification card and armed career felon.
 
He was ordered to serve four to five years at the Massachusetts Correctional Institution at Cedar Junction on the armed career felony change and given concurrent two-year sentences at the Berkshire County House of Correction on the other charge. His sentence will begin on June 2, 2016.
 
The charges stem from the execution of a search warrant on his home in Pittsfield on May 8, 2015.
 
James Swift, 55, of Pittsfield had not guilty pleas entered on his behalf on single counts of assault and battery on a disabled person, and caretaker abuse on a disabled person.
 
He was released on personal recognizance. Swift is accused of assaulting a student while he worked at Eagleton School on January 1, 2016.
 
Cases heard before Judge John Agostini on Wednesday, May 4.
 
Brian Baras, 29, of Canaan, Conn. had a not guilty plea entered on his behalf on a single count of possession of heroin with intent to distribute - his second offense. 
 
He was ordered to be held at the Berkshire County House of Correction on $5,000 bail. The charge stems from an incident in Sheffield on March 8, 2015.
 
Michael Nash, 28, of Pittsfield had a not guilty plea entered on his behalf on a single count of possession of cocaine with intent to distribute.
 
He was ordered to be held at the Berkshire County House of Correction on $2,500 bail. The charges stem from the execution of a search warrant at his home on March 25, 2016.
 
Nathan Tatro, 42, of North Adams had not guilty pleas entered on his behalf on two counts of intimidation of a witness.
 
He was ordered to be held at the Berkshire County House of Correction on $15,000 bail. Tatro is accused of intimidating two people in a pending criminal matter between February 22, 2016 and April 17, 2016 in North Adams.
 
Cases heard before Judge John Agostini on Thursday, May 5.
 
Max Bohgan, 25, of Pittsfield had not guilty pleas entered on his behalf on single counts of possession of heroin with intent to distribute, and conspiracy to violate drug laws.
 
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 March 10, 2016.
 
Caleb Sherman, 23, of Adams had not guilty pleas entered on his behalf on single counts of assault and battery by means of a dangerous weapon, strangulation or suffocation, assault and battery, threat to commit a crime, and malicious destruction of personal property.
 
He was ordered to be held at the Berkshire County House of Correction on $5,000 bail. Sherman is accused of assaulting a 21-year-old man in Adams on March 11, 2016.
 
Tyler Sherman, 23, of Cheshire had not guilty pleas entered on his behalf on single counts of assault and battery by means of a dangerous weapon, strangulation or suffocation, assault and battery, and malicious destruction of personal property.
 
He was ordered to be held at the Berkshire County House of Correction on $5,000 bail. Sherman is accused of assaulting a 21-year-old man in Adams on March 11, 2016.
 
James Yeaman, 61, of Lee had a not guilty plea entered on his behalf on a single count of misleading a police officer or other person.
 
He was released on personal recognizance. Yeaman is accused of giving a false statement to court officials on June 26, 2013 while employed at Eagleton School.
 
Cases heard before Judge John Agostini on Monday, May 9.
 
Glendaliz Rios, 33, of North Adams had not guilty pleas entered on her behalf on single counts of conspiracy to violate drug laws to wit: possession of heroin with intent to distribute, and being present where heroin is kept.
 
She was released on one-year probation. The charges stem from the execution of a search warrant on her home on April 13, 2015.  A single count of inducing or abetting a minor to distribute controlled substances was dismissed by the state.
 
Cases heard before Judge John Agostini on Wednesday, May 11.
 
Heather Shurtleff, 39, of Adams was found guilty by a jury of a single count of reckless endangerment of a child.
 
She was ordered to be held without bail until sentencing on Monday, May 16, 2016. The charge stems from an incident in Adams involving a girl who is now 18 years old between February 6, 2011 and May, 20, 2014. Shurtleff was found not guilty on a single count of intimidation of a witness.
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Adams Police Warn of Car Break-ins

ADAMS, Mass. — The Adams Police Department is currently investigating several car break-ins. These have occurred over the past several days during the evening or early morning hours.

The breaks have involved mostly unlocked vehicles. If you have any information regarding these breaks please contact police at 413-743-1212.

Here are some safety tips to help prevent car break-ins:

  • Always lock your car doors.
  • Keep the windows and sunroofs closed when the vehicle is not in use.
  • Do not leave the vehicle running and unlocked. Even a locked and running vehicle presents the opportunity for theft.
  • Do not leave anything of value in plain sight.
  • Do not leave packages or store purchases inside the car. Lock them in the trunk or cover them in the cargo area of your SUV.
  • Park your vehicle in a well-lit or open area.
  • Report any suspicious activity when and where it is occurring. Do not wait until the next day to report it.

There are no "fool proof" ways of totally preventing car break-ins, said Police Chief Richard Tarsa Jr. However, if you take the extra steps it limits the opportunity of it happening to you.

 

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Great Barrington Police Officer Killed in Friday Morning Crash

STOCKBRIDGE, Mass. — An off-duty Great Barrington police officer died early Friday morning after his pickup truck hit a tree on Prospect Hill Road in Stockbridge.

Stockbridge Police Chief Darrell Fennelly said 25-year-old Ryan A. Storti of Muddy Brook Circle was pronounced dead at the scene of the crash, which was reported shortly after 2 a.m. According to a statement from the Great Barrington Police Department, Storti was alone and on his way home when he lost control of his truck and struck a tree on the side of the road.

The investigation is being conducted by members of the Stockbridge Police Department with assistance from the Massachusetts State Police Collision Analysis and Reconstruction Section.

"Officer Storti was a wonderful young man and police officer," Great Barrington Police Chief William Walsh said in a statement. "He was everything we wanted in a police officer and was part of our future. We're all struggling right now as we also try to support Ryan's family. Please keep them all in your thoughts."

Storti, a 2008 graduate of Monument Mountain Regional High School, had been a reserve officer in Great Barrington until being appointed to a permanent position in 2015. He graduated from Berkshire Community College and from the Western Massachusetts Police Academy in Springfield.

"Officer Storti was a rising star for our police department. I am devastated to learn of his sudden death," Town Manager Jennifer Tabakin said in a statement. "This is a tragedy and an enormous loss for the Police, our Town and the entire community. Our hearts go out to Ryan's family and all who loved him and worked with him every day in public service. He will forever be in our thoughts and prayers."

Funeral arrangements are pending.

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Pittsfield Police Cruiser Involved in Collision

PITTSFIELD. Mass. — An on-duty police officer was involved in a motor vehicle accident Thursday evening at the intersection of First and Fenn streets.

Preliminary investigation indicates that the accident occurred as the officer was traveling eastbound at about 6:32 p.m. on Fenn Street in a marked cruiser. It has not determined if any emergency equipment was in use at the time.

As the officer proceeded across the First Street intersection, a collision occurred with a 2014 Ford F-150, traveling southbound on First Street. The operator of the Ford F-150 was a 29-year-old Lee man. The involved officer was transported to Berkshire Medical Center where he was treated and expected to be released this evening. The operator of the F-150 declined treatment at the scene.

The accident remains under investigation by the Accident Reconstruction Unit and the Pittsfield Police Department is asking any witnesses to contact Lt. Jeffrey Bradford at 413-448-9700.

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Pittsfield Police: Reports Of Luring Attempts At Reid Proved False

Staff Reports
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Reports that someone had been trying to lure Reid Middle School students into a van in March have proved to be false.
 
Police released a statement on Wednesday saying one of the alleged victims admitted the story was fake and no attempt had occurred.
 
On March 23, two girls reported that a man in a blue van attempted to lure them into it as they walked to school. The investigation "brought to light several inconsistencies in the victim's statements," police said. 
 
"When confronted with the contradictory evidence, one victim's family declined to participate in the investigation any further, and the other female declined to respond in a way that would explain why her story did not match contradictory evidence. At this time, it appears both reports were false and that there was no actual incident involving a blue van," police wrote in a statement.
 
Five days later another report was made by a juvenile man who reported that a man in a white pickup truck told him to get in as the student left the school. Again police found contradictory evidence and ultimately the alleged victim "admitted that the story was a fabrication and that no luring attempt had taken place."
 
The reports of some one trying to lure students trigger alarm among parents and school officials. The School Department issued a call asking for parents to pick up their children at the school and to be aware of the events. 
 
"In both cases, the members of the Pittsfield Public School system and the Pittsfield Police Department worked closely together to ensure the safety of our children and our community. Incidents of this nature are given the highest priority over other matters and require a great deal of our finite manpower resources to investigate. We would ask that parents of school age children take this opportunity to discuss the importance of being truthful when reporting incidents or interacting with the police," the statement reads.
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Emergency: 911
Adams 413-743-1212
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Cheshire 413-743-1501
Dalton 413-684-0300
Great Barrington 413-528-0306
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