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Hazmat Team Finds No Threat In Package Delivered To Pittsfield Police

By Andy McKeever
iBerkshires Staff
The hazmat team found no dangerous materials in the package.
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — A hazardous materials team found no threat in a suspicious package sent to the police station.
 
The District 5 Hazmat Team responded to headquarters Wednesday morning shortly before 11 to investigate a FedEx-delivered package that contained a medical journal hinting of virus dissemination.
 
By noon, the team found the package was not a danger.
 
"Monday afternoon a package was delivered to the Pittsfield Police Department headquarters. It didn't cause any undue alarm but once the package had been opened, the staff realized there was some inconsistencies with the addresses — both the delivery address and the alleged address of the sender," Police Chief Michael Wynn said.
 
The package originated from what appears to be a fake address out of Colorado, according to police, and was addressed to a nonexistent receptionist with the Pittsfield Police Department.
 
The address for the Police Department was also wrong. Inside, responders found newspapers, periodicals and the medical journal. The concern was that it may contain a powered substance or virus, the chief said.
 
"Shoved in the bottom of the box was an excerpt from a medical journal on virus dissemination and transmission and given the climate and culture we are working in, we thought it merited the extra precaution," Wynn said.
 
The package sat in a vacant office in the station for two days before being examined. Wynn said because of that, the station was not evacuated. 
 
"They found nothing so we never suspended operations," Wynn said.
 
The Fire Department hosts the hazmat team, which is staffed by firefighters from both North Adams and Pittsfield. The Pittsfield Fire Department also sent an engine company to the scene. 
 
"The team is originally designed for hazmat response and, through the years, our role has evolved into handling these bio, nuclear and chemical possibilities," Fire Chief Robert Czerwinski said. "The team is well versed in these kinds of operations."
 
The team quickly examined the package on scene and found no reason for alarm. The team has a dedicated vehicle with a number of assets to investigate such a situation. The response was a Tier 1, which means limited resources were used for the examination.
 
"They were confident that nothing was in the package," Czerwinski said. 
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Superior Court Briefs: Sept. 9 - Sept. 10

Staff Reports
Cases heard before Judge John Agostini on Wednesday, Sept. 9.
 
Lavar Burney, 35, of Pittsfield had a not guilty plea entered on his behalf on a single count of distribution of heroin. 
 
He was released on $1,00 bail. The charge stems from a motor vehicle stop in Pittsfield on July 3, 2015.
 
Ronald Palazoo, 76, of Sandisfield had not guilty pleas entered on his behalf on three counts of rape of a child with force, three counts of indecent assault and battery on a child under age 14, and intimidation of a witness.
 
He was released on $10,000 cash or $100,000 surety. Palazoo is accused of sexually assaulting a boy, now aged 5, in Sandisfield on September 3, 2012 and July 11, 2015.
 
Brooklynne Schneider, 21, of Stephentown, N.Y. had not guilty pleas entered on her behalf on single counts of possession of heroin with intent to distribute, and conspiracy to violate drug laws, to wit: distribution of heroin.
 
She was ordered to be held at the Hampden County House of Correction-Chicopee Woman's Facility on $10,000 bail. The charges stem from a motor vehicle stop in North Adams on July 23, 2015.
 
Cases heard before Judge John Agostini on Thursday, Sept. 10.
 
Jarritt White, 34, of Pittsfield had not guilty pleas entered on his behalf on single counts of possession of heroin with intent to distribute, conspiracy to violate drug laws to wit: possession of heroin with intent to distribute, possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony, illegal ownership of a firearm, rifle, or shotgun, possession of ammunition without a firearm identification card, and improper storage of a firearm, rifle or shotgun.
 
He was released on personal recognizance. The charges stem from the execution of a search warrant at 715 West Housatonic Street in Pittsfield on July 3, 2015.
 
Vincent Stracuzzi, 44, of Pittsfield had not guilty pleas entered on his behalf on single counts of possession of heroin with intent to distribute, conspiracy to violate drug laws to wit: possession of heroin with intent to distribute, and possession of cocaine.
 
He was released on $1,000 bail. The charges stem from the execution of a search warrant on his home on July 3, 2015.
 
Nakiba Browne, 31, of Pittsfield was found guilty of manufacturing cocaine - his second offense - and manufacturing heroin - his second offense.
 
He was ordered to be held at the Berkshire County House of Correction pending sentencing on Sept. 15. The charges stem from the execution of a search warrant at his Linden Street home on September 19, 2014.
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Lanesborough Fire Rescues Injured Hiker From Mount Greylock

Staff Reports
LANESBOROUGH, Mass. — A hiker was rescued from Mount Greylock Monday after being cut with an ax.
 
Fire Chief Charles Durfee said the call came in at 12:37 in the afternoon about the hiker being located in the woods off from the Old Adams Road Trail. Three all-terrain vehicles were used but responders had to hike more than a mile in 90-degree heat.
 
"We could only get the ATVs in about a mile on the trail. We had to hike the last 1.5 miles. Due to the heat and the terrain of the trails, we called for the Western Mass Tech Rescue Team to come assist us in getting the hiker out of the woods," Durfee wrote in an e-mail.
 
Durfee said a total of 11 firefighters and 16 Western Massachusetts Tech Rescue members responded. The hiker had a laceration on his leg from an ax and was transported to Berkshire Medical Center.
 
"As the chief, I can't say enough about the tech guys," Durfee wrote.
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Superior Court Briefs: Sept. 1 - Sept. 4

Staff Reports
Cases heard before Judge Daniel Ford on Tuesday, Sept. 1.
 
Elwin Bruno, 47, of Pittsfield had not guilty pleas entered on his behalf on two counts of assault and battery on a public employee, and single counts of resisting arrest, and 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 cash or $50,000 surety bail. The charge stem from a motor vehicle stop in Pittsfield on June 8, 2015.
 
Michael Rahilly, 28, of Hinsdale had not guilty pleas entered on his behalf on single counts of armed robbery, carrying a dangerous weapon, and possession of heroin.
 
Rahilly is accused of holing up an employee of the Subway on South Street on August 9, 2015. He also had a not guilty plea entered on his behalf on a single count of larceny over $250 in connection with a theft of a television from Walmart on July 26.
 
He was ordered to be held at the Berkshire County House of Correction on $2,000 bail.
 
Cases heard before Judge John Agostini on Friday, Sept. 4.
 
Jerrod Kendig, 35, of Dalton had a not guilty plea entered on his behalf on a single count of larceny over $250 in connection with a theft at Walmart in North Adams on April 12, 2015.
 
He was released on $500 bail.
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North Adams Motorcycle Accidents Injures Two

NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — A Clarksburg man and a Pittsfield woman were transported to the hospital after sideswiping a parked car with a motorcycle early Thursday morning.

William Valotta, 25, of Clarksburg was traveling east on East Main Street with passenger Nikki Shaw of Pittsfield when they collided with the parked car at about 12:45 a.m., according to North Adams Police.

Police reported that Valotta was found pinned under the motorcycle and Shaw was located a few feet away.

Both were transported by North Adams Ambulance Service to the hospital.

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