Lanesborough Police Arrest Vermont Man For String of Car Breaks
LANESBOROUGH, Mass. — Police arrested a Bennington, Vt., man whom they believe is responsible for a number of recent car breaks.
On Tuesday, police arrested 29-year-old Nicholas Leonard at the Weathervane Motel on a number of charges related to the string of car break-ins. Leonard is being held at the Berkshire County House of Correction on $5,500 bail and will be arraigned on Wednesday.
"A concerned citizen knew we were looking for him and said they saw him at the Weathervane," said Chief Timothy Sorrell.
Leonard is being charged by Lanesborough Police on four counts of breaking and entering a motor vehicle, two counts of larceny under $250, and single counts of uttering, larceny over $250, and forgery. Pittsfield Police and Vermont authorities are also expected to file charges relating to similar incidents in those areas.
"Numerous stolen items were found in the room from various break-ins in Pittsfield and Lanesborough," Sorrell said.
The chief said Leonard had been suspected in the recent car breaks. Just three days earlier, Lanesborough Police used Facebook to warn citizens to lock their car doors to protect their property.
Leonard was apparently seen on video in one of the breaks, according to Sorrell. He also alleged that Leonard had stolen a checkbook, wrote checks for cash, and provided identification when he went to cash them.
Prior to Tuesday's arrest, there were default warrants: one from 2011 in Williamstown for 20 counts of breaking and entering a motor vehicle and one from 2015 in North Adams for failing to provide a DNA sample — Massachusetts requires those convicted of a felony to provide one.
In 2011, Leonard was charged with breaking into vehicles
in Bennington and Pownal, Vt., and in Williamstown. He was accused of some 41 car break-ins and stealing more than $10,000 worth of various items.
Superior Court Briefs: March 22 - March 31
Cases heard before Judge John Agostini on Tuesday, March 22.
James Morrison, 24, of Great Barrington pleaded guilty to four counts of breaking and entering in the daytime, four counts of larceny over $250, and single counts of larceny over $250 from a person 60 years old or older, fraudulent use of a credit card, misuse of a credit card, and credit card fraud under $250.
He was ordered to serve concurrent two and a half o four years at the Massachusetts Correctional Institution at Cedar Junction on all charges except misuse of a credit card and credit card fraud. On those charges he was given concurrent one-year sentences at the Berkshire County House of Correction.
The charges stem from housebreaks in South County between July 31, 2015 and September 15, 2015.
Single counts of receiving stolen property over $250 and fraudulent use of a credit card were dismissed by the state.
Cases heard before Judge John Agostini on Thursday, March 24.
Duane Carr, 27, of Bronx N.Y. had not guilty pleas entered on his behalf on two counts of possession of oxycodone with intent to distribute and a single count of possession of cocaine with intent to distribute.
He was released on $2,500 bail. The charges stem from a motor vehicle stop in Pittsfield on February 22, 2016.
Cases heard before Judge John Agostini on Tuesday, March 29.
James Miller, 48, of North Adams pleaded guilty to four counts of indecent assault and battery on a person who has attained age 14.
He was given concurrent two-year sentences at the Berkshire County House of Correction on three of those charges and placed on five-years probation on the other. The incidents involved a 24-year-old woman in North Adams between November 4, 2013 and December 25, 2013.
Merredith Futrell, 34, of North Adams pleaded guilty to a single count of conspiracy to violate drug laws to wit: possession of cocaine with intent to distribute.
She was ordered to serve 30 days at the Berkshire County House of Correction. The charge stems from the execution of a search warrant on Bracewell Avenue on November 3, 2015.
Single counts of trafficking in a class B substance and possession of cocaine with intent to distribute were dismissed by the state.
Cases heard before Judge John Agostini on Wednesday, March 30.
Antoine Crichlow, 37, of Pittsfield had not guilty pleas entered on his behalf on two counts of rape, and single counts of strangulation or suffocation, assault and battery on a family member, intimidation of a witness, and threat to commit a crime to wit: assault and battery on a public employee.
He was ordered to be held at the Berkshire County House of Correction on $10,000 bail. Crichlow is accused of assaulting a 31-year-old woman in Pittsfield on January 13 and January 14, 2016 and threatened a Pittsfield Police officer on January 14, 2016.
Robin MacDowell Jr., 30, of Pittsfield pleaded guilty to eight counts of breaking and entering in the night time, seven counts of larceny over $250, two counts of larceny under $250, two counts of larceny over $250, and a single count of breaking and entering in the day time.
He was ordered to serve concurrent two-year sentences at the Berkshire County House of Correction on all charges except the two counts of larceny under $250, for which he was given a concurrent one-year sentence.
The charges stem from a number of breaks in Pittsfield between August 10, 2015 and September 12, 2015. Eight counts of unarmed burglary were dismissed by the state.
Cases heard before Judge John Agostini on Thursday, March 31.
Russell Allison, 43, of Pittsfield had not guilty pleas entered on his behalf on single counts of possession of cocaine with intent to distribute - his second offense - possession of heroin - his second offense - and possession of cocaine - his second offense.
He was ordered to be held at the Berkshire County House of Correction on $2,500 bail. The charges stem from a motor vehicle incident in Pittsfield on December 23, 2015.
Lionel Ortiz, 34, of Hartford, Conn. had a not guilty plea entered on his behalf on a single count of armed robbery.
He was ordered to be held at the Berkshire County House of Correction on $15,000 bail. He is accused of taking money from a clerk at Lipton Mart on South Street in Pittsfield on February 23, 2015.
Vincent Thaxter, 38, of Hartford, Conn. had a not guilty plea entered on his behalf on a single county of armed robbery.
He was ordered to be held at the Berkshire County House of Correction on $10,000 bail. He is accused of taking money from a clerk at Lipton Mart on South Street in Pittsfield on February 23, 2015.
Joseph Walker, 42, of Pittsfield had not guilty pleas entered on his behalf on single counts of trafficking in heroin and conspiracy to violate drug laws.
He was ordered to be held at the Berkshire County House of Correction on $5,000 bail. The charges stem from a motor vehicle stop in Pittsfield on January 21, 2016.
Michael Abdalla Jr., 54, of Lee pleaded guilty to a single count of misleading a police officer or other person.
Agostini accepted a plea and continued the case without a finding for two years provided Abdalla abide by conditions imposed by the Probation Department and donate $5,000 to a local charity.
Abdalla failed to provide video tape evidence from Michael's Restaurant to police related to a motor vehicle homicide investigation on April 4, 2015 in Stockbridge.
Pittsfield Firefighters Quickly Knock Down Fires in Two Apartments
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — City firefighters were busy Wednesday morning with two fires.
Crews were called to Worthington Street for a structure fire. While there, another call came in about a fire on Fenn Street.
Deputy Fire Chief Matthew Noyes said the call came in shortly after 11 a.m. Wednesday about a fire at three-family building on Worthingston Street. Upon arrival, smoke could be seen coming out of a second floor window, and crews found a small fire in a bedroom of the second-floor apartment.
Noyes said they were able to get the fire under control within about 10 minutes.
"We're just waiting for the investigators," he said.
The Red Cross has been called to assist the four people who live in the second floor, which is currently unusable, as well as the eight people in the first-floor apartment, which sustained water damage, Noyes said. The third floor was not affected.
While crews were assessing the Worthington situation, a call came in about a fire on Fenn Street.
Chief Robert Czerwinski, on the scene of that fire, said firefighters responded to 458 Fenn St. for a fire on the stove of the second floor apartment in the multi-family home. By the time they arrived, the occupant had extinguished the fire.
"Everybody's out, everybody's safe," Czerwinski said, adding that the damage was "mostly cosmetic" and the occupants - a man and his daughter - would not be displaced for long, if at all.
Czerwinski and Noyes said the Fire Department was able to successfully manage the back-to-back calls.
"We had to split up some crews," Czerwinski said, adding that two engine companies had still been in service when the second call came.
Noyes said there was a minor delay for a company to get to Fenn Street because it was at Worthington but it didn't have any impact.
"Luckily we were able to knock both fires down quickly," he said.
Angry Taco Bell Was Closed, Pittsfield Man Crashes Vehicle
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Angry that Taco Bell was closed, a city man allegedly crashed his car into a former ATM building as he sped off.
Police say Derrick LaForest pulled up to Taco Bell in Berkshire Crossing at about 1:30 a.m. Thursday and began beeping his car horn. An employee them informed LaForest that the restaurant was closed and that's when he allegedly sped through the drive-through lane, hit a curb, jumped another curb, and then crashed into the small building which used to house a TD Bank automated teller machine.
"LaForest stated that he had gone to Taco Bell and when he found it was closed, he drove away and somehow hit the building. LaForest stated he had 'no idea' how he hit the building," reads the police report.
"LaForest stated that he had come from Johnny's Beach Club on Wahconah Street, but showed no signs of impairment."
According to police, employees pulled an unconscious LaForest from the vehicle and waited for officers to arrive. Employees told police that he was driving "at least 80 miles per hour."
"The building suffered extensive damage, as did LaForest's vehicle," the police report reads.
LaForest had a cut above his eye and the airbag had deployed but he refused medical treatment. He was arrested and charged with vandalism and reckless operation of a motor vehicle.
Pittsfield Police Investigating Reports Of Man Trying To Lure Students
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Police are investigating reports that a man attempted to lure a middle school student into a van Wednesday morning.
Police said that at just before 7 a.m. a middle school student went to a convenience store and the clerk called police for her to report the issue. Police issued a "be on the look out" for the blue van reported.
Investigators have spoken to the registered owner of the van so officers are no longer looking for the vehicle.
However, a second student reported a related incident at the school later and the case remains an active investigation. Anyone with information is asked to contact the detective bureau.
The School Department issued a call to parents warning them of the situation on Wednesday.
"This is Superintendent Jason McCandless calling to let you know that a middle school student was approached and urged to get into the vehicle by a man driving a blue van this morning, while the student was walking to school. This happened earlier this morning in the vicinity of Linden Street.The Pittsfield Police are involved. We are calling simply to make you aware as your children get ready to leave for school today, and prepare for dismissal today," the message said.
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