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Superior Court Briefs: November 26 - December 5

Staff Reports

Cases heard on Tuesday, November 26.

Daniel Lowenstein, 23, of Amherst was sentenced to three years at the Berkshire County House of Correction after being found guilty of numerous charges on Nov. 21.

Lowenstein was found guilty by a jury on three counts of distribution of marijuana and single counts of possession of a sawed-off shotgun, possession of ammunition without a firearm identification card, possession of a firearm with a defaced serial number and possession of marijuana with intent to distribute.

He was give two years on the possession of a sawed-off shotgun and given an additional sentenced on a single count of distribution of marijuana. He was placed on two years probation on the possession of a firearm with defaced serial number and concurrent time of the other charges.

Lowenstein sold marijuana to an undercover police officer in Great Barrington on February 23, 2013, March 2, 2013 and March 9, 2013 and in possession of the drug with intent to sell it on March 9, 2013. The other charges occurred in Great Barrington on March 9, 2013.

Cases heard before Judge Daniel Ford on Tuesday, December 3.

Christopher Maschino, 22, of Pittsfield had not guilty pleas entered on his behalf on three counts of breaking and entering in the daytime with intent to commit a felony and three counts of larceny in a building.

The charges stem from a series of house breaks in Lanesborough between February 22, 2013 and March 12, 2013. He was released on personal recognizance but is currently being held on bail on other charges.

Cases heard before Judge Daniel Ford on Thursday, December 5.

Barton Jones, 32, of Troy, N.Y. had not guilty pleas entered on his behalf on single counts of armed robbery, assault by means of a dangerous weapon and assault and battery.

The charges are in connection with an incident involving a 28-year-old man in North Adams on January 10, 2013.

He was ordered to be held at the Berkshire County House of Correction on $75,000 cash or $750,000 surety bail.

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North Adams Man Arrested in Scooter Theft, Multiple Warrants

Staff Reports
Patrick Gaffey, 45, and Debra Gaffey, 41, of North Adams were arrested in Hartford, Conn., on Wednesday.

NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — A North Adams man wanted in the robbery of a local woman's scooter two months ago, among numerous other charges, was arrested Wednesday in Hartford, Conn.

Patrick Gaffey, 45, and his wife, Debra Gaffey, 41, both were taken into custody at the behest of the North Adams Police Department after receiving information that they may do harm to themselves or their autistic son.

Patrick Gaffey was arrested by the Hartford Police Department as a fugitive from justice based on an active warrant in Massachusetts. Both were also charged with possession of narcotics after police said they found more than 100 bags of heroin in their minivan and possession of narcotics within 1,500 feet of a school. They are also facing third-degree larceny for allegedly stealing the minivan they were driving.

Their son was transported to Hartford Hospital for evaluation and then released to the care of the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families.

Hartford Police apprehended the pair at about 2 p.m. on Wednesday. North Adams and state police detectives and state police Violent Fugitive Apprehension Section relayed the general area where they were believed to be and Hartford Police picked them up minutes later.

Patrick Gaffey has multiple arrest warrants in Massachusetts for which he will be brought to back to face once waiving extradition; if not, a governor's warrant will be requested.

Gaffey is wanted by North Adams, Holyoke and Clarksburg police departments and state police for nine arrest warrants.

Gaffey and Jesse Sprague, 31, of Cliff Street, were also arrested in a purse snatching in October at Ingleside Mall in Holyoke.

In September, police began an investigation into the theft of more than $50,000 worth of collectable toy trains, toys and other collectables from a storage unit in North Adams. Detectives were able to locate that some of the items were being sold on eBay by a man located in Ludlow. With the assistance of Ludlow Police detectives, a North Adams detective working undercover purchased multiple toy train accessories from the man in Ludlow.

Oct. 12, 2013, North Adams and Ludlow detectives with the assistance of the Adams, Lenox, Great Barrington and Wilbraham police departments executed a search warrant for the stolen collectables and recovered approximately $35,000 worth.

Gaffey is also charged with the following offenses:

North Adams
Larceny more than $250, scrap metal in March 2013; six counts of larceny by check less than $250 and three counts of uttering a false check in May 2013; possession of heroin from a motor vehicle stop in August 2013; and four counts of uttering a false check and three counts of forgery for allegedly stealing a checkbook in November 2013.

He and another as-yet unnamed man are also charged with larceny more than $250 related to the scooter theft in September. Police were investigating the theft of Suzanne Williams' scooter. Williams, always accompanied by her doll, Suzy, is well known around the city and community members have been raising funds to replace her scooter.

Regarding the collectibles theft: Larceny more than $250, breaking and entering in the daytime with the intent to commit a felony and malicious destruction of property more than $250. Warrants issued by Northern Berkshire District Court.

Clarksburg
Larceny more than $250 in the theft of a motorcycle in August 2013

Holyoke
Unarmed robbery of a person 65 years old or older in relation to the purse snatching from a 73-year-old woman in October (with Jesse Sprague).
        
Charlemont
Possession of burglarious tools, from an investigation in October 2013.

The North Adams Police Department continues to investigate other similar related crimes for which Gaffey is a person of interest. With the assistance of the Williamstown Police Department, detectives are attempting to locate the owner of 1960s-era scooter that has been stolen from the Northwest Hill area of Williamstown or possibly in Pownal, Vt., in September or October 2013.  If anyone has information concerning the scooter they are asked to call the North Adams or Williamstown police departments.
 

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Man Charged in Fatal Williamstown Accident

WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — A Rhode Island man has been charged with vehicular homicide and drunken driving in the fatal crash that killed 64-year-old Lawrence George on Nov. 24.

William D. Lowe, 34, of Columbus Ave., Pawtucket, R.I., was arraigned Friday in Northern Berkshire District Court on charges of homicide by motor vehicle by negligent operation and under the influence of alcohol, having an open container of alcohol in a vehicle and speeding.

Lowe was heading northbound on Route 7 (Cold Spring Road) in a Ford Explorer on Sunday, Nov. 24, when his vehicle crossed the center line just past Mount Greylock Regional High School, said police, colliding head-on into George's Hyundai Electra. The crash occurred at about 10:40 a.m.

George, a Dalton native who was working for Williams College, was pronounced dead at the scene. The road was closed for several hours as police conducted an investigation of the crash.

Williamstown Sgt. Scott McGowan executed two search warrants on Wednesday, Nov. 26, as a result of the investigation, focusing on Lowe, who was then at Berkshire Medical Center in Pittsfield, and on his sport utility vehicle. The next day, Pittsfield Police arrested Lowe at BMC and brought him before a judge at Central Berkshire District Court; he was held without bail until he could be arraigned in North Adams.

The investigation is ongoing and additional charges are possible. Williamstown and state police are coordinating the investigation.

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North Adams Police Keep Pressure on Criminal Element

By Tammy Daniels
iBerkshires Staff

NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Police say a major drug bust on Tuesday is a successful example of how they're keeping the pressure on outside criminal elements — and a warning to those considering a return.

"The lion's share of the people we've been dealing with — starting about January and this summer — are outsiders, out-of-town problem people," said Police Director Michael Cozzaglio on Wednesday. "They were from Brooklyn and the Bronx; they came back in."

Three of the eight people arrested during the raid at a Mohawk Forest apartment were from the Bronx, N.Y.; a fifth gave no known address and a sixth was from Springfield. Three were local: Jaycee Bressette, 22, Pownal, Vt., Ronni Hart of Barbour Street and Paul Dugal Jr., a former Florida Mountain resident now living in Mohawk Forest.

Police found 150 grams of crack cocaine, worth about $10,000 on the street, said Cozzaglio, 80 packages of heroin worth about $1,200 and $4,000 in cash.

The police director said the suspects were not unknown to authorities, and two had outstanding warrants. Johnte Smith, 25, and Derrick Witter, 31, of the Bronx were arraigned in Superior Court on Wednesday on counts of assault and battery and intimidation of a witness from earlier this year. Smith was also charged with aggravated rape.

"We put a lot of pressure on our problem people over the summer and the out-of-town people," said Cozzaglio. "Two had outstanding warrants, which also caused them to flee. Subsequently, they had returned and, working with the public, we were able to find out where they were and what they were doing.  

"They were back in the business of dealing drugs."

The raid came together very quickly after authorities learned of the alleged dealers' return. North Adams Police, working with sheriff's office and the task force through the district attorney's office, obtained a warrant and moved fast.

"It was well executed and done very efficiently and done very well," said Cozzaglio.

He said the alleged dealers may have been testing to see if the "pressure was off."

"We are not easing off one little bit. This pressure will stay on until we feel there is a difference being made," he said. "This is part of the problem but not the full problem."

Dealers coming from outside the area inevitably need a place to stay or set up operations; that means they need one or more local people's help as well as customers.

"This type of activity has no borders," said the police director, and pulls in people of all ages and backgrounds. He credited local groups working to prevent addiction and aiding current addicts as a critical effort to attacking the problem.

"Let's work with the addicts and remove the drug dealers ... they have no mercy for these people, they are truly criminal and deserve what they get," he said.

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Slick Roads Cause Pownal Rollover

POWNAL, Vt. — A Pownal woman escaped serious injury on Tuesday afternoon after losing control of her sport utility vehicle and landing in a ditch.

State Police Trooper Justin Walker said snow and icy conditions on Madison Road contributed the accident, which occurred at about 3:55 p.m.

Sarah Waters, 20, was driving her 2003 Toyota Highlander along Madison Road near the Hidden Valley Road intersection when she lost traction, slid into a ditch and rolled the vehicle.

Waters, who was wearing a seat belt, was taken to Southern Vermont Medical Center in Bennington for precautionary reasons. The Highlander incurred scratches and dents to the front fender. The Pownal Fire Department also responded to the scene.

The Vermont State Police are reminding drivers to use caution and to use proper winter tires as the winter weather sets in. The investigation remains active

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