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Four Arrested in MCLA Armed Robbery

Staff Reports

NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Investigators have made several arrests in connection with a home invasion and armed robbery that took place on the campus of the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts in December.  

Joshua E. Jadusingh, 18, of West Main Street, pleaded not guilty Friday morning in Northern Berkshire District court to single counts of home invasion and armed robbery. Judge Laurie MacLeod ordered that he be held at the Berkshire County House of Correction on $25,000 cash or $250,000 surety bail.

Jadusingh will be back in court for appointment of counsel on Jan. 24.

Police also arrested and charged a 15-year-old, whose identity was not released because of the individual's juvenile status, in connection with the incident.

The charges stem from a reported armed robbery at the one of the college's townhouse dormitories on the evening of Dec. 14, 2010. Campus, state and North Adams police were called to the scene but law enforcement authorities refused to provide further information on the incident although there was speculation drugs were involved.

Both arrests stem from search warrants executed at 3 Secor Ave. and 105 West Main St. late Thursday morning by state police detectives assigned to the district attorney's office, MCLA campus police, North Adams Police and members of the state police Violent Fugitive Apprehension section, Crime Scene Services and the Berkshire County Drug Task Force.

As a result of the execution of the search warrants items were seized from both locations.  

Police say two other juveniles ages 15 and 16 were arrested in late December in connection with the robbery. The investigation is continuing and other arrests are possible. 

Investigators are asking anyone who may have information about the robbery to call them at the MCLA Office of Public Safety at 413-662-5284.

Tags: armed robbery, home invasion, MCLA      

Donations Reach State Road Fire Victims

Andy McKeever

Ryan Tondreau lost everything but the clothing he was wearing in his State Road apartment when it was gutted by fire.

NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — After a devastating fire gutted a State Road home last month, support for the victims have come from many angles.

Donations were accepted and a fundraising dinner was held at the Polish National Alliance in Adams, both the community giving group at

 

 Sweetwood/Sweet Brook and the Red Cross donated money, a Facebook fundraiser has raised more than $2,000 from more than 60 online supporters and Compassionate Care on Massachusetts Avenue collected boxes and boxes of items. Those donations are now being put in the hands of the people who need them.

"It's really nice to see that people care," said Ryan Tondreau, who lived in the second-floor apartment. "We lost pretty much everything but what we were wearing that day."

Tondreau, who lived in the building with Carrie Goldstein, sorted through the boxes of items at Compassionate Care on Friday to stock his new apartment. Tondreau and Goldstein are currently looking for new home while they stay with Tondreau's family in Williamstown.

"We're just taking it day by day. We've been staying with my parents since it happened. We're looking at a few options but as of yet, nothing," Tondreau said as he scanned a pair of donated pants looking for a size. "There is a lot of stuff here that we won't have to re-buy. Whatever we need we'll store until we get a new place."

Tondreau and Goldstein did not have renters insurance but their downstairs neighbors, Dana and Josh Mendel, did. The Mendels told Compassionate Care to allow Tondreau to take what items he needed from the donations first. Donations were being dropped off to the Compassionate Care nearly every day since the fire and were overflowing into the hallway.

The gifts ranged from gift cards to clothing to kitchen supplies. Much of the clothing will not fit and Tondreau said that he would re-donate anything the couple could not use.

"Obviously, we won't be able to take all of the stuff but it's still really nice to see," Tondreau said.

A cause of the fire at the corner of State Roadand Protection Avenue has not been determined.

Editor's Note: State Road!! Argh, reporters!

 

Tags: Fire      

North Adams Fire Department Rescues Injured Hikers

Staff Reports
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Emergency personnel rescued two hikers from Mount Greylock on New Year's Day after one of the pair was injured. 
 
“They went hiking and he just twisted his ankle,” Fire Director Stephen Meranti said on Monday. “We went up there on snowmobiles and gave them a ride back.”
 
The hikers called for help from a cell phone at about 4:30 p.m. and both Fire Department and ambulance employees used personal equipment to help the pair. Five firefighters and two emergency medical technicians from North Adams Ambulance took ATVs and snowmobiles up the mountain, Meranti said.
 
The hikers were near high-tension lines and used the tower number to identify their location but the Fire Department was still unsure of the best way to access them, Meranti said. Emergency personnel began a staging area on Curran Highway but after consulting with National Grid to pinpoint the tower, the group moved to Notch Road.
 
The hikers were off the mountain by 7 p.m. and the weather was warm enough that they were not in immediate danger. Only one department vehicle was used, an all-terrain vehicle and a rescue sled, and three additional ATVS and three snowmobiles were owned by emergency staff.
 
The hikers' names were not immediately available. 
 
Tags: Fire Department, hikers, Mount Greylock      

Two-Alarm Blaze Guts North Adams Home

Andy McKeever

NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — A two-alarm blaze gutted a two-story State Road home on Monday afternoon leaving four people homeless.

A Facebook page has been set up to coordinate help and raise funds for the two couples, who lost everything in the blaze.

According to Fire Director Steve Meranti, firefighters were called to the apartment building at the corner of Protection Avenue and State Street around noon after an off-duty police officer reported heavy smoke and shooting flames.

All off-duty firefighters were called to the scene, where heavy winds spread the fire throughout nooks and crannies on the topmost floors, he said. The fire built up in the ceiling and firefighters needed to call for backup.

Firefighters had to break through the roof of State Road home to battle a blaze that gutted the structure.

"The wind contributed considerably," Meranti said. "It was a tough one. The guys took a wicked beating."

Additional difficulty came because the department was restricted by power lines on Protection Avenue and National Grid had to disconnect power.

Firefighters removed the building's roof to get at the blaze in the attic. The home was vacant when the fire was reported and no one was injured.

"It's a total loss on the second and third [attic] floors," Meranti said. "Everybody has been accounted for."

There are two apartments housing two people in each, according to Meranti. The fire appeared to have begun in a second-floor bedroom, he said.

"I don't remember being at a fire that big since I was a kid," Mayor Richard Alcombright said, who was at the scene.

The fire closed traffic on Route 2 between Protection Avenue and Roberts Drive for more than two hours. Motorists were detoured over Massachusetts Avenue.

Adams Fire Department also assisted on the scene and Clarksburg Fire Department was on standby in the city's station. The cause of the fire is not yet known and investigation will continue on Tuesday when the fire marshall arrives to the scene.

"It does not appear to be suspicious but we haven't ruled anything out yet," Meranti said.

Firefighters remained on the scene Monday night to watch for hotspots.



Tags: fire, house      

Abandoned Bag Prompts Bridge Closure

Tammy Daniels & Andy McKeever

State police bomb squad examine X-rays of the suspicious bag left under Veterans Memorial Bridge, which is shown in the background.

 

NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — A bag full of dirty clothes shut down one of the city's main arteries for more than two hours on Wednesday night.

The suspicious bag was reported abandoned under the Veterans Memorial Bridge just after 6 p.m.

An initial investigation led police to believe the bag could contain a bomb or explosives and they closed the roads around 7 p.m. The bomb squad was called about less than a half hour later.

"We had a suspicious package under the artery," said Public Safety Commissioner E. John Morocco, who described it as "an old dufflebag."  "We originally checked it with a thermal scanner and we found a hot spot."

That was enough to call in the state police bomb squad, he said. Two squad members arrived around 9 p.m.

Access to Marshall Street between Main and River streets and Veterans Memorial Bridge, carrying Route 2, was blocked and diverted over Main Street and River Street.

Shortly before 10 p.m. state police finished the investigation and found the bag was not harmful. They took X-rays using a portable machine to determine there were no explosives. Once that was completed, a trooper wearing a safety vest opened the bag and looked inside to confirm.

The team brought along the remote-control robot but did not deploy it.

A dufflebag of some type can be seen under the Veterans Memorial Bridge.

"The city should be so fortunate to have such a quick response by police, fire department and ambulance," Mayor Richard Alcombright said when the roads were being reopened. "I want to give a very big thank you to the state police for their help."

The four-lane memorial bridge continues Route 2 over Marshall Street, the Hoosic River and parking lots on both sides of Marshall.

What appeared to be a large, dark bag of some sort could be seen about midway between the concrete pillars supporting the deck on the edge of the east side of the parking lot near the sidewalk at about 9 p.m. The nearby Mohawk Tavern was dark and reportedly evacuated.

North Adams Police were being aided by a state police cruiser and Clarksburg police to prevent motorists from driving under or over the bridge.

Officer Jason Wood said the bag was "full of dirty clothes." An officer is still investigating but Wood wasn't sure it if there was anything in the bag to identify the owner. "It was in an odd spot," he said, adding the bag is now "lost property."

The last time a suspicious package raised this level of caution was more than two years during a failed bank robbery attempt by Robert A. Bywaters. Bywaters claimed to have a bomb in a bag he left on the sidewalk in front of Hoosac Bank on Main Street.

The main drag was shut down for nearly 12 hours before the state police bomb squad removed the bag and disposed of the contents.

Updated and rewritten throughout to add and correct details; Wednesday, Dec. 15, 2010, 10:58 p.m.

Update on Saturday, Dec.18: The bag turns out to have been stolen from a woman at the Thrifty Bundle laundromat on State Road. According to a report in the North Adams Transcript, someone grabbed her purse and, when she gave chase, someone else stole her bag.

Tags: road closure, bomb      
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