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Alleged Serial Arsonist Arrested In Great Barrington
By Andy McKeever On: 03:13PM / Friday April 06, 2012
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PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The Chicopee man was arrested in Great Barrington Thursday night and charged with setting a series of fires in the county in recent years.

Stuart Zimbrowski, 54, is being charged with 15 counts of burning the land of another, four counts of burning a building, seven counts of larceny under $250, three counts of breaking and entering in the daytime and two counts of larceny from a building. On Friday he had not guilty pleas entered on his behalf in Central Berkshire District Court on the charges. Judge Rita Koenigs ordered that he be held at the Berkshire County House of Correction without bail.

According to the state Fire Marshal Stephen Coan,  Zimbrowski set fire to a vacant apartment in Great Barrington on March 8, a barn in Sandisfield on Jan. 19, and the same Marlborough building two times — once on June 16, 2011 and again on October 17, 2011 — as well as 15 brush fires between April 30, 2009 and April 5, 2012.

The investigation was completed by the State Police, New York State Police and fire departments in Dalton, Egremont, Great Barrington, Lee, Lenox, New Marlborough, Sandisfield, Sheffield and Stockbridge.

"I want to commend the great investigative effort by so many fire and law enforcement agencies. This was a tremendous effort that has removed a serial arsonist from the community before he progressed from brush fires and vacant buildings to occupied ones,"Coan said in a press release. "Arson is not a victimless crime even when no one is hurt in a fire; the fear and anxiety communities feel in addition to the loss of property, significantly impacts the quality of life."

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Ex-Stockbridge Counselor Accused of Rape
Staff Reports On: 05:43PM / Thursday April 05, 2012
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GREAT BARRINGTON, Mass. — A  one-time Stockbridge school counselor and current emergency management director has been accused of multiple counts of rape by former pupils.

Scott Muir, 36, was arranged Thursday in Southern Berkshire District Court on multiple sexual assault charges involving three former pupils and the district attorney's office is asking for any other victims to come forward.

Muir is accused of raping the children on multiple occasions while he worked as an adjustment counselor at the former Stockbridge Plain School, which closed in 2008.

He had not-guilty pleas entered on his behalf on:

• Three counts of rape of a child with force, two counts of indecent assault and battery on a child under the age of 14 in connection with incidents that occurred between 2003 and 2005 and involved a girl who is now 16.

• Two counts of indecent assault and battery on a child under the age of 14 and one count of attempt to commit indecent assault and battery on a child under the age of 14 in connection with incidents that occurred between 2003 and 2004 with a girl who is now 18.

• Two counts of indecent assault and battery on a child and a single count of rape of a child in connection with incidents between 2003 and 2004 with a girl who is now 17.

All of the incidents allegedly occurred at the school while he was employed there.

Judge Bethzaida Sanabria-Vega released him on $10,000 cash or $100,000 surety bail on the condition he have no contact with the alleged victims or their families and have no unsupervised contact with children under the age of 16. He is scheduled to return to court for a pre-trial conference on May 3. 

District Attorney David Capeless said there may be other victims and urged them to "come forward."

"We believe that there may be other victims who will come forward, and we urge anyone with information about Mr. Muir's activities at the Plain School to contact the Berkshire Detective Unit of the state police at 413-499-1112," he said in a statement.

Muir is currently Stockbridge's emergency management director and facilities manager. He is also listed as a member of the Board of Health and a member of the Lee Volunteer Ambulance Service.

The investigation was conducted by the state police.


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Pittsfield Bank Robbery Suspect Nabbed in Boston
Staff Reports On: 03:49PM / Thursday April 05, 2012
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Updated Friday, April 6, 2012 at 2:54 p.m.:
Brenda Santos had a not guilty plea Friday morning in Central Berkshire District Court on a single count unarmed robbery. Santos is being accused of robbing Greylock Federal Credit Union on March 30.

Judge Rita Koenigs ordered that Santos be held at the Berkshire County House of Correction on $250,000 cash or $2.5 million surety bail. Santos is scheduled to return to court on May 4.



PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Pittsfield Police said a woman suspected in Friday's robbery of the Greylock Federal Credit Union was arrested Wednesday in Boston after her companions were reported for suspicious activity.

Brenda Santos, 22, and her alleged accomplice in the Greylock robbery, Brandon Wood, 31, were arraigned Wednesday in Brookline District Court.

Both are described as being homeless in Boston but Wood is believed to be from the Pittsfield area.

Santos is being charged with unarmed robbery of the Greylock branch on Elm Street. Wood is charged with being an accessory before the fact and accessory after the fact of the Greylock robbery.

Santos, Wood and William Curtin, 26, of Dedham, are also facing conspiracy charges, according to the Boston Globe, regarding suspicious activity at two Boston area banks on Wednesday.

The Globe reports that a man wearing a hooded sweat shirt, sunglasses and hat left the Brookline Bank on Beacon Street after being asked to remove his glasses but met with an individual dressed in similar fashion outside. Another Beacon Street bank reported later in the day that a man of the same description was acting suspicious.

Police tracked the suspects to a hotel and found evidence of the Pittsfield bank robbery. Santos was arrested at the same time.

The Boston office of the FBI violent crimes task force and the Brookline Police Department are cooperating in the investigation.



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Pittsfield Woman Critically Injured In New York Car Crash
Staff Reports On: 03:28PM / Wednesday April 04, 2012
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PITTSFIELD, Mass. — A city woman in in critical condition after a three-vehicle collision in upstate New York on Tuesday evening.

According to a report on Masslive.com, Allana Lewis, 27, was taken to Berkshire Medical Center after the 4 p.m. crash in Amenia, N.Y.

New York Police say Lewis was a passenger in a  southbound car that was hit head-on while travelling on Route 22. The northbound car was pushed into southbound lane after being rear-ended by a FedEx van.

All three drivers were taken to Sharon Hospital in Sharon, Conn. The other drivers injuries were not considered life threatening. Lewis was later transferred to Berkshire Medical Center, according to MassLive.

The van driver was ticketed for following too closely.


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Chimney Fire Displaces Five Clarksburg Residents
By Andy McKeever On: 06:08PM / Tuesday April 03, 2012
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The fire started n the chimney and expanded into roof.
CLARKSBURG, Mass. — Five people are displaced after a fire significantly damaged a portion of their River Road home early Tuesday morning.

Firefighters responded to the home owned by Britni Maxwell at 540 River Rd. for a report of a chimney fire at about 12:30 a.m.

The 911 call was placed by Maxwell's cousin after the two women and three children escaped the home. There were no injuries.

The cell phone call had to be initially redirected and by the time they arrived, the blaze had expanded into a structure fire in the roof.

However, firefighters were able to get the flames under control within 15 minutes, according to Fire Chief Carlyle "Chip" Chesbro. Firefighters remained on scene until about 4 a.m.

"The fire was burning alongside the chimney at the roof line," Chesbro said Tuesday afternoon. "Once the trucks got there, we were able to knock it down quickly."

The Fire Department attacked the flames from the inside while mutual aid from Stamford, Vt., assisted from the outside and supplied water. The North Adams Fire Department was on standby.

"The chimney caused the fire. It was in disrepair. But luckily it was external," Chesbro said and added that it is important for residents to keep a close eye on the condition of their chimneys.

The roof to that section of the house was severely damaged and by Tuesday afternoon family friends had already put a tarp over it to protect it. A larger section of the home was undamaged.

The house is insured but it is unclear when the family will be able to move back in. They are currently staying with family.

Chesbro said that once the damaged section is boarded up and utilities are secured, they "should be able to live in it."


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News Headlines
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MCLA Opens New Facilities Building in North Adams
State Pothole Funds Helpful But Not Enough
Holiday Hours: Patriots Day
Pittsfield Lakefront Property Being Developed on Churchill Street
Committee Finds Leaking at Hoosac Valley High
Three Resign From Williamstown Affordable Housing Committee
Williamstown Fire Committee OKs Budget Request to Voters
"Draft Day": It's a Coin Toss
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