North Adams Police Warn of Phone Scammers
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — The North Adams Police Department is warning area residents of a phone scam that's making the rounds.
The scam involves being contacted by phone by someone from a foreign country. The caller claims that a family member is being held in a foreign jail and needs help being bailed out. The caller then requests that cash be sent to an address in that country. The caller also tries to intimidate the person by telling them not to report what is going on because it could jeopardize the safety of the family member.
Detectives who have spoken to the victims say the scammer have used the called the family member by name adding to the validity of the call. The public should be aware that any information that they put out on social media sites is subject to being viewed by these scammers.
While the current scam is being perpetrated by foriegn sources, iBerkshires is also aware of attempts at a similar scam in which victims are informed that a family member has been arrested within the country, such as New York City. The scammer identifies himself as an attorney or friend seeking bail money.
If you are contacted by someone using this scam or any other, seek advice before sending any money or providing any account information. The following steps should be used:
1. Write down any information they give you.
2. Do not send money or give account information over the phone, by mail or over the Internet.
3. Contact other family members to see if, in fact the named family member is really out of town.
4. Contact your local police department and make them aware of the scam.
Use common sense and be aware that these type of scams are out there.
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Superior Court Briefs: January 28 - February 7
Cases heard before Judge Daniel Ford on Monday, January 28.
Ryan Sullivan, 24, of Hinsdale pleaded guilty to seven counts of larceny in a building, six counts of breaking and entering in the daytime, four counts of uttering a false check, four counts of forgery of a check, four counts of identity fraud, three counts of larceny under $250, two counts of vandalize property, two counts of malicious destruction of personal property over $1,259 and single counts of breaking an entering in the daytime placing a person in fear, larceny over $250, larceny of a fire arm, illegal possession of firearm, larceny of a controlled substance and common and notorious thief.
He was sentenced to two years at the Berkshire County House of Correction on all charges except for one count of larceny under $250. HE was given a concurrent one year sentence on that charge. Sullivan broke into houses in Richmond, Hinsdale, Washington, Dalton, Peru and Pittsfield between April 13, 2011 and November 5, 2011.
Douglas Guinan, 54, of Lanesborough was found guilty on single counts of motor vehicle homicide while under the influence of alcohol and operating under the influence of alcohol.
He was sentenced to five to seven years at the Massachusetts Correctional Institution at Cedar Junction. Guinan was the operator of a vehicle that struck another on South Street in Pittsfield on October 23, 2010. The accident killed 25-year-old Michael Ashline and caused serious injuries to a 24-year-old woman.
Cases heard before Judge Daniel Ford on Tuesday, January 29.
Scott Graham, 35, of Pittsfield pleaded guilty to five counts of knowingly possessing visual material of a child depicted in sexual conduct.
He was placed on one year probation on the condition that he continue sexual offender counseling and mental health treatment, forfeit all computers and media storage devices, not own a computer or cell phone with internet access and not possess any type of pornography.
Graham was in possession of child pornography in Pittsfield on July 19, 2010.
Thaddeus Hughes, 34, of Springfield pleaded guilty to two counts of distribution of cocaine.
He was sentenced to three years at the Massachusetts Correctional Institution at Cedar Junction. Hughes sold cocaine in Pittsfield on November 9, 2009 and November 18, 2009.
Jason Welsh, 22, of Pittsfield pleaded guilty to 14 counts of breaking and entering a motor vehicle in the nighttime, four counts of malicious destruction of personal property under $250, three counts of larceny of a motor vehicle, two counts of attempting to burn a building, two counts of breaking and entering a building in the daytime, two counts of attaching plates to a motor vehicle, and single counts of larceny from a building, receiving stolen property under $250, receiving or possessing a stolen motor vehicle, negligent operation of a motor vehicle, operating a motor vehicle with a suspended license and malicious destruction of personal property over $250.
He was sentenced to concurrent five to eight years at the Massachusetts Correctional Institution at Cedar Junction on the attempting to burn a building, breaking and entering a building, breaking and entering a motor vehicle, receiving a stolen motor vehicle, larceny of a motor vehicle, malicious destruction of personal property charges. He was given concurrent jail time on the other charges.
Welsh broke into F.L. Castine Moving and Storage and Jay's Modern Bends Muffler and Auto and attempted to set both on fire on February 24, 2012. Welsh also broke into numerous motor vehicles in Pittsfield and Cheshire on the same date. A single count of burning a building was dismissed by the state.
Cases heard before Judge Daniel Ford on Wednesday, January 30.
Philip Baruch Jr., 19, of Lenox pleaded guilty to single counts of motor vehicle homicide while under the influence of alcohol and speeding.
He was sentenced to four to six years at the Massachusetts Correctional Institution at Cedar Junction on the motor vehicle homicide charge and the speeding charge was placed on file.
Baruch was the operator of a vehicle that struck a tree on Greylock Street in Lee on December 30, 2011 and killed 17-year-old Remy Kirshner.
Chad Foley, 18, of Lanesborough had not guilty pleas entered on his behalf on two counts of indecent assault and battery on a person who has attained age 14.
He was released on personal recognizance. The incidents allegedly occurred in Pittsfield between July 1, 2012 and August 31, 2012 and involved a girl who is 15 year old.
Mitchell Grossjung, 25, of Pittsfield pleaded guilty to single counts of keeping a place for registering bets and conspiracy to violate drug laws to wit: distribution of cocaine.
He was given a one year suspended sentence on the conspiracy charge and placed on one year probation on the keeping a place for registering bets. Grossjung was the owner of Herman Alexander's and provided illegal poker machines on April 28, 2012. He also conspired with others to distribute cocaine in Pittsfield between February 24, 2012 and April 3, 2012.
Roy Hoyt Sr., 55, of Pittsfield pleaded guilty to two counts of rape and abuse of a child and two counts of indecent assault and battery on a person who has attained age 14.
He was ordered to serve concurrent six years to six years and one day sentences at the Massachusetts Correctional Institution at Cedar Junction on the rape and abuse charges. He was given concurrent four to five years on the other charges.
The incidents involved a young man who is now 21 years old in Pittsfield and Lanesborough between September 1, 2002 and September 19, 2006.
Justin Steele, 32, of Lee pleaded guilty to single counts of armed assault in a dwelling, assault with a dangerous weapon and assault and battery.
He was sentenced to 10 to 12 years at the Massachusetts Correctional Institution at Cedar Junction on the armed assault in a dwelling charge. He was given a concurrent four to five year sentence on the assault with a dangerous weapon charge and he was given a concurrent two year sentence at the Berkshire County House of Correction on the assault and battery charge.
Steele broke into a home on Linden Street in Pittsfield and assaulted the occupants on September 12, 2011. A single count of armed home invasion was dismissed by the state.
Cases heard before Judge Daniel Ford on Thursday, February 1.
James Stevens, 43, of Pittsfield was found guilty of a single count of possession of cocaine with intent to distribute.
He was sentenced to serve six years to six years and a half at the Massachusetts Correctional Institution at Cedar Junction. The charge stems from the execution of a search warrant at 35 Prospect Street in Pittsfield on September 7, 2007.
Cases heard before Judge John Agostini on Wednesday, February 6.
Nita Gomes, 18, of Adams pleaded guilty to two counts of conspiracy to violate drug laws and a single count of being present where heroin is kept.
She was ordered to serve concurrent six month sentences at the Berkshire County House of Correction. The charges stem from the execution of a search warrant at 99 Howland Avenue in Adams on August 10, 2012.
Single counts of possession of heroin with intent to distribute, possession of cocaine with intent to distribute and possession of heroin were dismissed by the state.
Cases heard before Judge John Agostini on Thursday, February 7.
Craig Hill, 47, of Pittsfield had a not guilty plea entered on his behalf on a single count of possession of cocaine with intent to distribute - his second offense.
He was ordered to be held at the Berkshire County House of Correction on $5,000 cash or $50,000 surety bail. The charge stems from a motor vehicle stop in Pittsfield on Jan. 12.
John Poole, 51, of Pittsfield had not guilty pleas entered on his behalf on five counts of knowingly possessing visual material of a child depicted in sexual conduct.
He was ordered to be held at the Berkshire County House of Correction on $25,000 cash or $250,000 surety bail. Poole allegedly possessed child pornography in Pittsfield on December 19, 2012.
Jennifer Smith, 36, of Dalton had a single count of reckless endangerment of a child continued without a change of plea for two years.
During that time she is ordered to go to the Brien Center for an evaluation and aftercare or continue to see a therapist. Smith was aware of allegations of child sexual assault and failed to report them to authorities. The incidents occurred in Richmond between January 1, 2004 and June 5, 2010.
Charles Williamson Jr., 52, of Pittsfield had a not guilty plea entered on his behalf on a single count of failing to register as a sex offender - his second offense.
He was ordered to be held at the Berkshire County House of Correction on $5,000 bail. The incident allegedly occurred in Pittsfield between December 18, 2012 and January 13, 2013.
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Local Animal Advocate Offers Reward in Adams Cat Case
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Allen Harris, president of Berkshire Money Management, is offering a $5,000 reward for information that leads to the arrest and conviction of the individual or individuals responsible for the recent cruel and sadistic treatment of a cat in the vicinity of Howland Avenue in Adams.
The young cat, named Cleo, was found left to die in a makeshift setup to hang the animal. Luckily, a passerby heard the choking cat, called 911, and saved its life.
"This is a heinous crime. I recognize that without some additional incentive the perpetrator or perpetrators may not be brought to justice," said Harris in a statement. "I implore anyone who knows something, anything, that may be helpful to law enforcement to do the right thing and report it."
Those with any information about the crime should call Adams Police at 413-743-1212.
Harris said he was shocked and appalled reading the details of the despicable acts. Such cruel behavior should not be tolerated, whether the victim is a cat, dog or any other living creature.
Harris and his wife, Stacey Carver, have been longtime supporters of vulnerable animals in the community. They have dedicated time and resources to several causes including Berkshire Animal DREAMS, New England Basset Hound Rescue, Eleanor Sonsini Animal Shelter and others. Carver is a board member for Animal DREAMS and New England Basset Hound Rescue Inc. and Harris is a member of the city of Pittsfield Animal Control Board.
Cleo has recovered from her trauma but is still uneasy around humans. She is seeking a kind and loving home. Find out more about her here. A benefit to offset the costs of Cleo's care is being held by Northern Berkshire Cat Rescue on Feb. 24.
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Clarksburg Rollover Injures One
CLARKSBURG, Mass. — A single-car accident injured at least one person and closed the River Road (Route 8) just
north south of Town Hall shortly after 3:30 p.m.
A late-model silver Hyundai sedan was believed to be southbound when it veered and hit the soft shoulder of the road on the east side and flipped. Police were still investigating the accident and could not confirm the sequence of events.
The windshield was removed to allow emergency responders to get to the driver, a woman. The driver was taken to North Adams Regional Hospital with unknown injuries; the only other occupant, an underage boy, did not appear to be injured.
Clarksburg Police and Fire responded to the scene, as did North Adams Police and Fire and North Adams Ambulance Service.
The highway was reopened at 4:31 p.m.
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Williamstown Man Facing Child Exploitation Charges
WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — The U.S. attorney's office has charged a Williamstown man of sexual exploitation of children.
Ronald Brown, 50, is accused of meeting a 16-year-old boy online and arranging for the boy to run away. Brown, a Level 2 registered sex offender, allegedly engaged the boy in a longer series of texts, chat sessions and email involving explicit sexual communications. On Jan. 8, Brown viewed the child masturbating on Skype and received naked photos, said prosecutors.
Brown allegedly also purchased a one-way ticket for the boy to fly to Newark, N.J., sent him $150 for traveling expenses and instructed him to erase the files on his computer. On Jan. 19, the boy flew to meet Brown.
Brown was later stopped by police as they were on their way toward Massachusetts.
The case was investigated with the assistance of the Williamstown Police Department, state police, and the New York State Police. It is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Steven H. Breslow.
The maximum sentence under the statute is 50 years in prison, followed by a lifetime of supervised release and a fine of $250,000. The affadavit against Brown can be viewed here.
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