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Missing Pittsfield Child Reportedly Returned to Father
Staff Reports On: 06:02PM / Wednesday July 18, 2012
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Police are searching for Alexis Hodges, who is with her mother, Amanda Babcock.
Update, Friday, July 20, 11:42 a.m.: Alexis Hodges was reportedly returned to her father in Central Berkshire District Court on Friday morning, according to witnesses. We have placed a call with the police asking for confirmation.

Police have notified that all national and local missing child alerts have been canceled.


PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Pittsfield police are asking for anyone with information regarding the whereabouts of 3-year-old Alexis Lee Hodges and her mother, Amanda Babcock, to contact them as they continue to investigate a missing persons report filed by the child's father last week.

Michael Hodges says he was awarded full custody of daughter Alexis on the morning of July 12, at a court proceeding at which Babcock failed to appear. Hodges had indicated on his Facebook as early as 9 that night that police were trying to locate the child's mother. The following day, according to Hodges, he filed a report that the child was missing. Hodges and friends began posting photos of the child as missing over the weekend and by early Wednesday had reached a significant enough volume to draw attention from local media.

"She's 3 and she's pretty much fending for herself right now. The situation that she's in was put on by her mother and the situation she's in is not right. My daughter doesn't deserve this. My daughter deserves to be home with me," Michael Hodges told YNN in an interview late Wednesday evening.

Authorities have said the case is not being considered a kidnapping because the mother of the child has not been served notification of the father's custody, but her whereabouts have remained unknown. According to their alert Wednesday afternoon, initial information indicated that Babcock, along with her boyfriend, Jeffrey Kucka, were planning to leave the area for Colorado. This was not corroborated, and police now say they believe the trio to be still in the local area.

Pittsfield Police have received reports from the public that the three have been seen camping in various locations locally within the past few weeks. Police in Lanesborough had previously received a complaint about a month ago that Kucka, along with his girlfriend and her child, were staying off a rural road near Riverside Cemetery, according to a nearby neighbor.

Relatives of Babcock indicated that she, the child, and Kucka had not been staying at their last known address for some time, and were possibly indigent. Pittsfield police similarly suggested that they may be staying outdoors or at a friends house.

They are believed to be traveling in a green, 1996 Jeep Cherokee Sport with the license plate of 588EE3. They have ties to Williamstown, Lanesborough and Hancock, Police are reporting.

Anyone with information about the possible whereabouts of these three individuals is asked to call Pittsfield Police immediately.

Det. Nick DeSantis: 413-448-9700 Ext. 303
Capt. Patrick Barry: 413-448-9700 Ext. 606

PPD also has the capability to accept anonymous tips online  and via text: PITTIP plus your message and send it to 847411.



PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Police are trying to locate 3-year-old Alexis Hodges, who is believed to be with her mother either camping for with friends.

Police released a statement on Wednesday calling for information about the whereabouts of Hodges, her mother, Amanda Babcock, and Babcock's boyfriend, Jeffrey Kucka. Police say they want to find them and check the well-being of Hodges.

Initial reports suggest Babcock was planning to leave the state and travel to Colorado but that information had not been corroborated, Police said.

Information indicates that all three are still in the county and are either staying with friends or camping. They are believed to be traveling in a green, 1996 Jeep Cherokee Sport with the license plate of 588EE3. They have ties to Williamstown, Lanesborough and Hancock, Police are reporting.

Babcock and Hodges have been entered into the National Crime Information Center as Missing and Endangered Subjects.

Anyone who has seen or have had contact with the three people are asked to contact Police at 413-448-9700.


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Lanesborough Police Searching For Jewelry Heist Suspect
Staff Reports On: 12:25PM / Tuesday July 17, 2012
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LANESBOROUGH, Mass. — Police are on the lookout for a man that stole two diamond rings from Kay Jewelers in the Berkshire Mall.

The rings, valued at $9,500 each, were stolen Friday at about 5:15 p.m.

A male, possibly Hispanic or bi-racial between 25 and 30 years old and between 5 feet 8 inches and 5 feet 10 inches tall, was looking at diamond engagement rings when he grabbed them and fled on foot through JC Penney's, according to Police.

The man took off in a dark colored sedan with an antenna on the trunk.

It is also believed the party had been casing the store from earlier in the week and was seen in the mall most of Friday.

The suspect told employees that he was from Connecticut and had recently bought a house in Cheshire. Police say this was a ploy.

Police are now looking for anybody who can identify the suspect or might have seen the crime as well as asking hotels and motels if they had seen the man.

Anyone with information are asked to call the Lanesborough Police Department at 413-443-4107. The crime is being investigated by Sgt. Gary Kirby and Investigator Timothy Sorrell.



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Superior Court Briefs: July 9 - July 13
Staff Reports On: 05:07PM / Monday July 16, 2012
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Cases heard before Judge John Agostini on Monday, July 9.

Michael Mitchell, 35, of Williamstown had a not guilty plea entered on his behalf on a single count of larceny over $250.

He was released on personal recognizance. The charges stem from a break in North Adams on March 2.

Sergio Ponce, 26, of Pittsfield had not guilty pleas entered on his behalf on single counts of improper sale of a firearm, illegal ownership of a firearm, possession of ammunition without a firearm identification card and receiving stolen property over $250.

Ponce was released on $500 bail. He allegedly sold a SKS assault rifle to an individual in Pittsfield on November 8, 2011.

Tracy Thompson
, 50, of Pittsfield pleaded guilty to single counts of distribution of cocaine and drug violation in a park zone.

He was sentenced to serve two years and one day at the Berkshire County House of Correction. The charges stem from incidents that occurred in Pittsfield on December 10, 2010. An additional count of conspiracy to violate drug laws was dismissed by the state.

Cases heard before Judge John Agostini on Tuesday, July 10.

Paul Keele Jr., 25, of Pittsfield pleaded guilty to a single count of distribution of cocaine in connection with the sale of the drug in Pittsfield on November 30, 2010 and single counts of possession of cocaine with intent to distribute, operating a motor vehicle with a suspended license - his second offense - and a single count of disorderly conduction in connection with his arrest on July 1, 2011.

He was sentenced to serve two years at the Berkshire County House of Correction on the distribution charge and two years probation on the other charges.

Cases heard before Judge John Agostini on Wednesday, July 11.

Jermaine Russell, 32, of North Adams pleaded guilty to four counts of assault and battery.

Russell was sentenced to serve concurrent two and a half year sentences at the Berkshire County House of Correction. The incident occurred in North Adams on December 28, 2010. The victims are two women who are 19 and 66 years old.

A single count of entering without breaking at night was dismissed by the state.

Cases heard before Judge John Agostini on Thursday, July 12.


Bryan Jefferson, 31, of Pittsfield had a not guilty plea entered on his behalf on a single count of conspiracy to violate drug laws, to wit: distribution of cocaine.

He was released on personal recognizance. Jefferson allegedly conspired with others to sell cocaine in Pittsfield on March 17.

Jamel Nicholson, 23, of Pittsfield had a not guilty plea entered on his behalf on a single count of conspiracy to violate drug laws, to wit: distribution of cocaine.

Nicholson was released on personal recognizance. He allegedly conspired with others to sell cocaine in Pittsfield on March 20.

Shannon Luczynski, 31, of North Adams pleaded guilty to four counts of distribution of oxymorphone and a single count of drug violation in a park zone.

Luczynski will be sentenced on Monday, July 16 at 9 a.m. The incidents occurred in North Adams between January 28, 2011 and February 10, 2011.

Cases heard before Judge John Agostini on Friday, July 13.

Chantelle Most
, 29, of Pittsfield pleaded guilty to single counts of assault and battery by means of a dangerous weapon on a person over the age of 60 and larceny from a person over 65.

She was sentenced to concurrent two to three year state prison sentences at the Massachusetts Correctional Institution at Framingham. The incident occurred in Pittsfield on June 27 and the victim in an 82-year-old man.


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Pittsfield Police Presence Has Tyler Area Wondering
By Joe Durwin On: 02:02PM / Monday July 16, 2012
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Pittsfield Police said Monday that the extra enforcement on Tyler Street and Dalton Avenue was for jaywalkers and traffic.
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Residents and motorists in the Dalton Avenue area voiced concerns Monday morning about another possible serious crime in their neighborhood, but authorities say the notable police presence is for enhanced policing of pedestrian activity and not a suspect search feared by some.

iBerkshires was contacted by area residents who reported seeing multiple cars pulled over by Pittsfield Police in the Dalton Avenue and Tyler Street area between approximately 11 and noon Monday.

"One flew down Dalton Avenue toward Liquors Inc. going like 100 mph," said Alice Larkin, of Dalton, "While one had someone pulled over next to Dunkin' Donuts on Dalton Ave."

Multiple police cruisers and an officer in a dark red unmarked car were seen circling the area repeatedly.

"I also saw an officer pull someone over, get out, hold up something like a photo to compare the driver to, then hop right back in the car, flick on his lights again and head the opposite way down Tyler Street," said Larkin.

"They seemed to be looking for somebody between Zenner's [Package & Variety store] on Tyler and around Dalton Ave," said one Tyler Street area resident, who declined to give his name.

Pittsfield Police Sgt. Shaun Osborne told iBerkshires the activity was not related to any search effort. "We're not searching for anybody, it's just crosswalk enforcement, that type of thing," he said.

The activity comes just days after a robbery at the Dunkin' Donuts on Dalton Avenue last Thursday, and a robbery at nearby Kirk's Variety on Tyler Street the week prior. Police announced Friday they had arrested a suspect they believed could be involved in both incidents.


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Pittsfield Man Charged in Dunkin' Donuts Robbery
Staff Reports On: 07:44PM / Friday July 13, 2012
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PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Police say they have apprehended a suspect in the armed robbery of the Dunkin' Donuts on Dalton Avenue on Thursday night.

According to The Berkshire Eagle, 28-year-old Christopher M. Riddle of Tyler Street, who spent time in prison for robberies committed in 2005, was arraigned in Central Berkshire District Court on Friday. Riddle was charged with single counts of unarmed robbery and possesion of heroin. The Eagle reported he pleaded not guilty to the charges but was held without bail based on a Superior Court matter.

Police said they responded to a report of an armed robbery at the 84 Dalton Ave. doughnut shop on Thursday night at about 9:29 p.m. The suspect was reported to have been masked when he entered the business and demanded money from the cash registers. Although the suspect's face could not be seen, witnesses were able to identify him based on his voice and his physical characteristics, said police.

Witnesses had reported that the suspect had been in the business on three separate occasions earlier in the evening, but could not be certain that he possessed a weapon during the robbery.

Based on the identification, a BOLO was put out for the suspect, who was located on Tyler Street near Brown Street at approximately 11:04 p.m. Riddle was subsequently arrested by patrol officers and investigators from the Drug Unit. At the time of his arrest, police said he was found to be in possession of a quantity of cash and heroin.

The investigation is ongoing, but police said preliminary investigation indicates that the suspect in Thursday's robbery matches the description of the suspect in a prior robbery that occurred at Kirk's Variety on Tuesday, July 10.

Anyone with any additional information is asked to contact the Detective Bureau at 413-448-9705.


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News Headlines
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Berkshire Battalion Loses Second Straight
McCann Students Lauded for Leadership & Skill Building
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Battalion Falls at Danville
Berkshire County Arc Receives Workplace Wellness Grant
Cultural Pittsfield This Week:Dec. 19-Jan. 4
Groundbreaking Ceremony Held at New Williamstown Senior Housing
Shakespeare In the Park Will Resume At Pittsfield Common

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