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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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Greylock Federal Credit Union Warns of Phone Scam
On: 03:44PM / Wednesday July 11, 2012
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PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Greylock Federal Credit Union is alerting Berkshire County residents — members and nonmembers — about a phone scam.
... Automated home and mobile phone calls and text messages are coming from an unknown source claiming to need your Visa credit and/or debit card information to reactivate your account.  

The message did not orginate from Greylock Federal Credit Union or any other legitimate source and should be considered fraudulent.

If you receive a phone call or text message similar to the one referenced above, please consider it a scam and hang up the phone immediately. Please contact Greylock at 413-236-4000 or 800-207-5555 if you have given your credit card information so we may help you take prompt corrective action.

If, for any reason, you did give out your debit card information and it is now after regular Greylock business hours, report your lost, stolen or compromised Visa Debit Card by calling 1-800-453-4270.  If, for any reason, you did give out your credit card information and it is now after regular Greylock business hours, report your lost, stolen or compromised Visa Credit Card by calling 1-800-558-3424.


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Superior Court Briefs: July 2 - July 5
Staff Reports On: 04:23PM / Friday July 06, 2012
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Cases heard before Judge John Agostini on Monday, July 2.

Scott Muir, 37, of Stockbridge had not guilty charges entered on his behalf on two counts of indecent assault and battery on a child under 14 in connection with incidents that allegedly occurred between August 1, 2003 and June 30, 2004 involving a girl who is now 17 and two counts of indecent assault and battery on a child in connection with incidents that allegedly occurred between August 1, 2005 and June 30, 2006 involving a girl who is now 15.

All incidents allegedly occurred at the Stockbridge Plan School whole he was a counselor there. He was released on $10,000 cash or $100,000 surety bail.

Shamel Robinson, 33, of Bronx, N.Y. pleaded guilty to single counts of possession of cocaine with intent to distribute, drug violation in a school zone and conspiracy to violate drug laws.

He was sentenced to serve a three month sentence at the Berkshire County House of Correction on the possession of cocaine with intent to distribute charge and given concurrent two year sentences at the Berkshire County House of Correction on the other charges. The charges stem from in incident in Pittsfield on May 5, 2011.

Cases heard before Judge John Agostini on Tuesday, July 3.

J.T. Holley, 24, of Pittsfield pleaded guilty to single counts of possession of heroin with intent to distribute, possession of cocaine with intent to distribute, possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony, illegal possession of a firearm and possession of ammunition without a firearm identification card.

He was sentenced to serve concurrent four to five year sentences at the Massachusetts Correctional Institution at Cedar Junction on all charges except for the possession of ammunition charge. He was given a concurrent sentence at the Berkshire County House of Correction on that charge.

The charges stem from a disturbance and subsequent motor vehicle stop in Pittsfield on October 15, 2011. An additional charge of possession of a firearm with a prior conviction for a violent crime or serious drug offense was dismissed by the state.

Cases heard before Judge John Agostini on Thursday, July 5.

Shaun Stolfi, 45, of Pittsfield pleaded guilty to conspiracy to violate drug laws and possession of cocaine.

He was placed on 18 months probation. The charges stem from an incident that occurred in Pittsfield on May 5, 2011.


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Tree Kills Sudbury Man After Tanglewood Concert
Staff Reports On: 01:02PM / Thursday July 05, 2012
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LENOX, Mass. — A man was killed by a dead tree limb Wednesday night after attending the James Taylor's Fourth of July concert.

According to the Berkshire County District Attorney's office, Lester Holtzblatt, 61, of Sudbury was walking on Richmond Mountain Road after the concert at Tanglewood on Wednesday when a 20-foot section of a dead tree fell on him.

The incident was reported to Police at 10:25 p.m. He was transported to Berkshire Medical Center in Pittsfield where he was pronounced dead on arrival.


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Smoke And Fire Destroys North Adams' Family Home
By Andy McKeever On: 10:58AM / Tuesday July 03, 2012
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The fire started in a closet on the first floor.
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — An early morning blaze on East Quincy Street Tuesday left a family of four searching for a place to stay.

According to Fire Director Stephen Meranti, firefighters responded to a call at 1:21 a.m. to 70 East Quincy St. for a fire on the first floor. Upon arrival the fire was pinpointed to a closet in a downstairs bedroom and firefighters were quick to snuff it out. However, smoke filled the house and it is now unlivable.

"That's where the majority of the fire was contained," Meranti said. "It was knocked down fairly quick but we spent a lot of time ventilating it. It's a large house and the smoke went throughout."

The fire was detected by owner Michael Perras after the smoke had woke him up. The house did have working fire alarms but Perras discovered it first and got his wife, daughter and two pets outside. He then ran back into the single family home to get the phone to call 911.

Meranti said the fire was likely smoldering for a while and when Perras opened the closet door, that kicked up the flames.

"I smelled it. It woke me up... I grabbed the kid and the dogs and got out," Perras said. "That black [smoke] came quick."

While Meranti said the cause of the fire is still under investigation, Perras said he thinks it may have been caused by a lightbulb. The closet is in the room of his oldest daughter, who was not home at the time.

The home is insured and an adjuster is expected to arrive soon. Perras' wife, Jane, said she is currently searching for a place to stay temporarily that is dog friendly.

"We're going to try and keep our routine up as much as possible," Jane Perras said, referring to keeping her 8-year-old in camp and getting through the holiday. "We're alive and we can replace what's lost."

Meranti said most of the personal items were damaged by the smoke.

Firefighters had the house on fire watch throughout the morning and were still on the scene at 10:30 a.m. on Tuesday investigating the cause.

"It's not livable right now because of the smoke damage," Meranti said.

Michael Perras said the family purchased the home about two years ago.


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