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Pittsfield Police Bringing Charges in 'G' Vandalism Case

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Police believe they have nabbed the vandal who's been spray painting the letter "G" all over the city.

Lt. Gary Traversa reported on Monday that nine counts of vandalism will be filed against one George O'Neil, 38, of  Lincoln Street.

The department's been investigating the appearance of the mysterious "Gs" painted on numerous road signs, utility boxes, bridges, and both public and private buildings throughout the city since early September. It was not believed to be related in any way to gang activity and police were sure it was one person doing the tagging.

The majority of the vandalism had not been directly reported to the Police Department by property owners. But police, working those who did, and information provided by citizens "familiar with the suspect" led the pending criminal charges.

The reason for the Gs, other than a possible initial, is still unknown.

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Police Warn of 'Bail Money' Phone Scam

RICHMOND, Mass. — Berkshire District Attorney David F. Capeless says some Berkshire County residents are being victimized by a telephone scam.  

Over the past several days, the State Police Barracks in Lee has investigated several incidents in Richmond involving telephone fraud. In this scheme, the caller claims to be a relative, says they have been arrested and asks the person answering the call to send bail money. In many instances, the caller has accurate personal information about the person being called as well as information about the family member they are impersonating, information which is easily obtained on the internet.  

The victim is then asked to send cash, buy gift cards or iTune cards and to send them to a specific location so their loved one can be released from police custody.  

Police are urging anyone who receives a call of this type to be suspicious and to report any such call to the state police or local police department immediately. Investigators warn against sending cash or gift cards through the mail as this is a phone scam.

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Pittsfield Police on Hunt for Mysterious 'G' Vandal

Staff Reports

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Who or what is "G?"

An initial? A symbol for the number 7? An agent of the Men in Black? No one knows, but the random letter tag has been popping up around the city.

Police say the majority of the vandalism has not been directly reported, but the appearance of this graffiti on road signs, utility boxes, and both public and private buildings, has been noted by patrolling officers and members of the public for more than a month now.  

The investigation to date has not shown the graffiti to be associated with any known national or local gangs, and no one has provided video surveillance to the department.

The tagging appears to be random and perpetrated by one individual. The tags also aren't hard to find - it took only a few minutes to track down a G image for this article.

Police would really like to speak with the mysterious G, so anyone with information on the vandalism can contact the department through the "Report a Tip" link. 

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Pittsfield Man Drowns In Pontoosuc Lake

Staff Reports

The Fire Department was called to the scene after reports of the body in the water.
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The body of a 73-year-old man was pulled from Pontoosuc Lake on Thursday morning.
 
According to the district attorney's office, Charles Frambach, of nearby Pinehurst Avenue, was declared dead at the scene from an apparent drowning.
 
The Fire Department was called around 9:15 a.m. for a report of a body in the water.
 
Shortly after arriving, the body was pulled from the lake using a small boat ramp on Route 7 near Hancock Road.
 
Police remained at the boat ramp for some time after Frambach was removed.
 
An autopsy will be performed Friday morning by the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Holyoke. Investigators do not believe foul play was involved at this time.
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Man Dies Following Assault at Pittsfield YMCA Apartments

Staff Reports

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — A 44-year-old man died Sunday after being assaulted in the apartments operated by the Pittsfield Family YMCA.

Joseph Wirtes, 44, was allegedly assaulted by Brian Signor at the apartments Sunday morning. Wirtes was transported to Berkshire Medical Center following the assault and was pronounced dead later that day.

Signor, 27, also of the YMCA's 292 North St. residence, was arraigned on Monday on a single count of aggravated assault and battery, according to the district attorney's office. He pleaded not guilty and is being held at the Berkshire County House of Correction on $50,000 cash or surety bail.

Further charges may be forthcoming, according to the DA, pending the results of an autopsy being conducted on Monday by the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Holyoke.

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