Former Police Officer Guilty on Child Porn Charges
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — A former Adams police sergeant pleaded guilty Friday morning in Berkshire Superior Court to 10 counts of child pornography.
Alan C. Vigiard, 46, appeared before Judge Daniel Ford and pleaded guilty to 10 counts of knowlingly possessing visual material of a child depicted in sexual conduct. A single count of lasciviously posing a child in a state of nudity was dismissed at the request of the commonwealth.
Vigiard was released on personal recognizance pending sentencing, which will take place on June 22 at 3 p.m.
The veteran officer was being investigated after a folder with pornographic images was found on a CD sent to the district attorneys. Vigiard was caught viewing pornography on a police computer at the station on Oct. 29, 2009.
He was placed on administrative leave and then resigned. As of last year, he was receiving retirement benefits accrued during his service but will lose those if the retirement board determines his crimes were linked to his employment.
The investigation was conducted by state police detectives assigned to the district attorney's office and members of the Adams Police Department.
|Tags: porn, police|
Fire Destroys Pittsfield Apartment Complex
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — A massive fire in an apartment complex on Saturday afternoon left more than 40 people homeless.
The five-alarm blaze was brought under control by Pittsfield firefighters after nearly seven hours and with the aid of at least six county fire companies.
No one was injured but the historic three-story Elmwood Court was heavily damaged.
Chief Robert Czerwinski said crews did an initial sweep of the building to ensure no one was inside. All the tenants had gotten out safely; two are out of town.
"We were having a tough time fighting it," said Czerwinski at around 8 p.m. "We're keeping a crew here over night to make sure it doesn't start back up."
The chief said the fire started in the basement and moved through the attic, helped along by the 160-year-old building's balloon construction.
The department received a call of smoke in the basement at about 12:30 Saturday afternoon. As the large fire moved through the 28 apartments, Pittsfield called surrounding towns for mutual aid.
Adams, Cheshire, Lanesborough, Lenox, Hinsdale and Richmond responded. The state's Fire Services Division also responded to provide support and coordination.
Czerwinski said the investigation "will start in earnest in the morning."
The local Red Cross chapter was helping any of the 45 or so tenants in need of aid.
The original mansion was built by Edward Learned, an industrialist and financier, in 1854 and was later known as one of the Berkshire cottages. It housed Miss Hall's School for the first decade of the last century and then was an inn, before being turned into apartments.
The property is owned by Cavalier S.E. Properties LLC, based in Egremont, which purchased it in 2004 from MP Bartlett Realty Trust for $1.1 million.
Updated and rewritten throughout at 9:12 p.m., May 14, 2011.
|Tags: fire, Bartlett Avenue|
Superior Court Briefs: April 26
Cases heard before Judge Daniel Ford on Tuesday, April 26.
Kareen D. Beckett, 33, of Pittsfield pleaded guilty to two counts of rape and one count of assault and battery in connections to a November 22, 2009 incident.
Beckett also pleaded guilty to single counts of assault and batter and intimidation of a witness on the same victim - a 50-year-old woman. Those incidents occurred on September 28, 2009 and January 3, 2010.
Ford sentenced Beckett to serve concurrent three to four year at the Massachusetts Correctional Institution at Cedar Junction on the rape charges. He was also given concurrent sentences at the Berkshire County House of Corrections on the other charges.
Timothy M. Lewis, 34, of Pittsfield pleaded guilty to a single count of possession of cocaine with intent to distribute.
He was sentenced to a one year sentence at the Berkshire County House of Correction. Two additional charges of distribution of cocaine and a single count of drug violation in a school zone were dismissed by the state. Lewis was arrested on April 26, 2010.
|Tags: rape, assault and batter, cocaine, intimidation of a witness|
Superior Court Briefs: April 12 - April 13
Cases heard before Judge Daniel Ford on Tuesday, April 12.
Tina Urban, 26, of Wilbraham had not guilty pleas entered on her behalf on single counts of trafficking in heroin and conspiracy to violate drug laws.
Urban was released on $1,000 cash or $10,000 surety bail. The charges stem from a motor vehicle stop in Richmond on Feb. 7.
Lawrence Taylor, 33, of Pittsfield had not guilty pleas entered on his behalf on two counts of intimidation of a witness and two counts of threat to commit a crime: to wit: murder.
Taylor was released on personal recognizance on the condition that he have no contact with the alleged victims. It is alleged that Taylor threatened two witnesses in a pending criminal case on Jan. 2.
Glen Chadwell, 38, of Pittsfield had not guilty pleas entered on his behalf on two counts of failing to register as a sex offender - his second offense.
Chadwell was released on $1,250 bail.
Cases heard before Judge Daniel Ford on Wednesday, April 13
Willie McNeil, 31, of Pittsfield pleaded guilty to single counts of kidnapping, assault and battery by means of a dangerous weapon, aggravated assault and battery and violation of a restraining order.
McNeil was given a suspended two and a half year sentence to the Berkshire County House of Correction on the assault and battery by means of a dangerous weapon and violation of a restraining order. He was also placed on five years probation on the condition that he continues treatment with the Department of Mental Health, not live in Pittsfield and have no contact with the victim. The kidnapping and aggravated assault and battery charges were placed on file.
Additional charges of burning a dwelling house and armed assault with intent to murder were continues without a change of plea for five years. The charges stem from an incident on January, 23, 2010 involving a 28-year-old woman.
|Tags: heroin, intimidation, sex offender, assault and battery, restraining order|
Pittsfield Police Report Phone Scam
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The Pittsfield Police Department would like to advise the public of the recurrence of a common phone scam. This phone scam is being conducted by unknown individuals believed to be in the United States and Overseas. The individuals involved in this scam are calling residences and pretending to be relatives in need of money.
One of the most recent victims of this scam reported sending $3,200 to an individual, who they believed to be their grandson, in Spain. It is possible that the individuals involved in this scam are obtaining personal information about their victims' families from social media sites. After gathering information from the Internet, the individuals contact family members, who are mostly elderly, and pretend to be a relative. The relative will claim to be in trouble and in need of money. The caller instructs the victim to wire money to them.
If any residents receive phone calls of this nature, please attempt to verify the identity and whereabouts of the family member before offering financial assistance. If you have suffered a financial loss due to this type of crime please contact the Pittsfield Police Department at 413-448-9700 and file a report.
|Tags: phone scam|