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Former Pittsfield Officer Coco Now Facing Larceny, Identity Theft Charges

Staff Reports
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The former Pittsfield Patrol Police Union President Jeffrey Coco pleaded not guilty to two counts of larceny and a single count of identity theft.
 
Coco entered those pleas in Berkshire Superior Court on Wednesday. Judge Daniel Ford released him on personal recognizance.
 
Coco is accused of taking more than $200,000 between January 2008 and July 2015 from the union when he served in various roles including treasurer. The district attorney's office now says he created a false document to get access to the funds.
 
He had already been charged with embezzlement after allegedly making cash withdrawals and writing checks from the union account into his or his wife's name. An internal investigation later led to his firing from the Police Department for misconduct. 
 
The issue dates back to July 2015 when the International Brotherhood of Police Officers in Springfield notified Police Chief Michael Wynn and former Mayor Daniel Bianchi about the accounts. Coco was then put on administrative leave and the internal investigation began. A few months later, he was fired. 
 
The district attorney's office concurrently launched its own investigation and in March Coco was arrested and charged with embezzlement. 
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Pittsfield Fire Knocks Down Blaze On East Street

By Andy McKeever
iBerkshires Staff

A portion of East Street was closed and traffic was backed up.
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — A fire at Carlo Motor Express on East Street caused heavy traffic backups as firefighters worked to save two tractor trailers and minimize damage to the building.
 
Fire Chief Robert Czerwinski said the department was called shortly before 2 in the afternoon to 1551 East Street, right near the junction to Merrill Road, to find flames shooting out the side of the building. 
 
"On arrival, the Police Department found fire blowing out the west side of the building. Our crews got in, made an aggressive interior attack, kept the damage to a minimum," Czerwinski said.
 
The building serves as a garage for tractor trailers, two of which were inside it at the time. Within 15 minutes, the fire was knocked down - preventing any damage to those vehicles. Czerwinski says had those burned the company would have been out a few hundred thousand dollars.
 
"We are probably estimating damage to the building at around $50,000 between stock that is damaged inside the building and the building itself," Czerwinski said.
 
Nobody was in the building at the time and the cause is still undetermined, but Czerwinski said it appeared to be electrical in nature. The owner of the building had been on site that morning but didn't notice anything unusual. There were no injuries.
 
"We had a full first alarm assignment, so we had probably 12 guys here," Czerwinski said.
 
Dalton was also on scene but wasn't utilized. The city's ladder truck is currently out of service so Dalton brought its to the scene just in case. 
 
The fire forced the closure of East Street from right near Whorles to the junction with Merrill Road. That caused significant backup, particularly on the west side of East Street where cars were lined up nearly to Newell Street. The fire mid-day two days before Christmas so there was an uptick in the amount of traffic.
 
The road remained closed until after 3:30. 
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Superior Court Briefs: Dec. 19 - Dec. 23

Staff Reports
Cases heard before Judge Daniel Ford on Monday, Dec. 19.
 
Alexander Jack, 71, of Becket had a not guilty plea entered on his behalf on a single count of intimidation of a witness. 
 
He was released on personal recognizance. Jack allegedly intimidated a victim in a criminal investigation on August 6, 2016 and August 7, 2016. 
 
Amber Maisano-Krok, 38, of Lenoxdale had a not guilty plea entered on her behalf on a single count of intimidation of a witness. 
 
She was released on personal recognizance. Maisano-Krok allegedly intimidated a victim in a criminal investigation on August 6, 2016 and August 7, 2016.
 
Micaela Reynolds, 44, of Becket had a not guilty plea entered on her behalf on a single count of intimidation of a witness. 
 
She was released on personal recognizance. Reynolds allegedly intimidated a victim in a criminal investigation on August 6, 2016 and August 7, 2016.
 
Cases heard before Judge Daniel Ford on Wednesday, Dec. 21.
 
Omar Marrero, 30, of Florence had not guilty pleas entered on his behalf on single counts of possession of heroin with intent to distribute - his second offense - and drug violation in a school zone. 
 
He was released on $2,500 cash bail. The charges stem from a motor vehicle stop in Adams on September 26, 2016.
 
James Bernacchia, 24, of Beacon, N.Y. had not guilty pleas entered on his behalf on single counts of possession of heroin with intent to distribute and disorderly conduct.
 
He was released on $2,500 cash or surety bail. The charges stem from a motor vehicle stop in Pittsfield on September 26, 2016.
 
Cases heard before Judge Daniel Ford on Thursday, Dec. 22.
 
David Sumner, 26, of Pittsfield had not guilty pleas entered on his behalf on single counts of trafficking in cocaine, possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony, armed career felon, illegal ownership of a firearm, possession of ammunition without a firearm identification card, and possession of counterfeit notes.
 
He was ordered to be held at the Berkshire County House of Correction on $35,000 bail. The charges stem from the execution of a search warrant on his home in Pittsfield on October 19, 2016.
 
Cases heard before Judge Daniel Ford on Friday, Dec. 23.
 
Julian Medina-Aviles, 26, of Pittsfield had not guilty pleas entered on his behalf on two counts of rape and abuse of a child, and a single count of pose or exhibit a child in a sexual act.
 
He was ordered to be held at the Berkshire County House of Correction on $20,000 bail. The incidents allegedly occurred in Pittsfield between February 27, 2016 and November 19, 2016. The alleged victim is a 15-year-old girl.
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Sprinkler System Break Briefly Closes North Adams' Tractor Supply

Staff Reports
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — A damaged sprinkler triggered the fire suppression system in the Tractor Supply store on Tuesday, leading to the evacuation of the facility until repairs could be made.
 
The Fire Department responded to the store after an employee damaged a sprinkler component with a forklift.
 
"A worker was running a forklift and he was putting some stuff on the shelf and the forklift hit the sprinkler head and broke it, which activated the system, which evacuated the building," Fire Director Steve Meranti said on Thursday.
 
Meranti said the sprinklers went off in the back room and not in the public area. He said there was minimal stock damage.
 
The store was shut down for a short period of time until the system could be repaired. It was open on Thursday
 
"The employee got a little wet," Meranti said. "But other than that, it wasn't too bad."
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Electrical Fire at North Adams Stop & Shop Forces Evacuation

Staff Reports

NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — A malfunctioning refrigerated case forced the local Stop & Shop grocery to evacuate customers for more than an hour.

Firefighters responded to a call from the store shortly before 9 p.m., and minutes later called for all off-duty firefighters to stand by the station.

"They didn't know what type of fire it was and then en route, they got a second call that they had attempted to put the fire out with a fire extinguisher and they couldn't do it," said Fire Director Stephen Meranti. "When the guys got here they found a fire in the meat case in the back of the building."

But the fire was pretty much out by the time firefighters arrived after the store manager hit with an extinguisher. They did have to disconnect the electrical, which was still live, and vented the building.

"It was an electrical connection in the cooler so that malfunctioned and that caught some of the plastic shelving on fire," Meranti said. The small fire damaged and burned the back of the cooler.  

The store was allowed to reopen before 10 p.m. after inspections by the building and health departments on the condition the contents in the cooler and near the damaged area were removed.

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