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Pittsfield Police: Multi-agency Operations Lead To 32 Arrests

Staff Reports
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — A series of four police operations have led to some 32 arrests over the last three weeks.
 
The operations consisted of highly visible patrols in areas identified as higher crime areas in the Morningside and Westside neighborhoods. Police say the series of operations were done both in response to recent violent crimes in the city and the anticipation of dangerous driving behavior during the holidays.
 
The first three operations were performed by the city's Police Department with help from the Berkshire County sheriff's office and the state police. The final operation was on Friday and involved the Police Department, the sheriff's office, state police, District Court Probation Office, and the state's Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission. 
 
Police conducted strong traffic enforcement while at the same time serving a number of arrest warrants. Probation checks, efforts to seek out 10 individuals in violation of sex-offender registration status, efforts to verify addresses of other sex offenders, and inspections of licensed establishments with a recent record of capacity or over-serving complaints were all conducted at the same time.
 
Authorities say Saturday's "One Team One Mission" led to 14 arrests, including two for operating under the influence of alcohol and one out-of-state sex offender registration violation. Police say 340 grams of cocaine estimated to be worth $34,000 and numerous illegal pills were seized. In total there were 171 citations issued for moving violations.
 
Combined, all four operations led to 32 arrests, six criminal summonses, 428 traffic stops, 14 criminal motor vehicle summonses, 253 motor vehicle citations, and 145 verbal warnings issued. The previous three operations were performed on Friday, Nov. 16; Tuesday, Nov. 20; and Wednesday, Nov. 28.
 
Police say it is the largest operation conducted in the city since 2016.
 
The department said the traffic enforcement operations are based on the principles of "Data-Driven Approaches to Crime and Traffic Safety." The local crime analysts looked at calls for services and crime data from throughout 2018 to identify locations and time for deployment of the operations. 
     

Superior Court Briefs: Nov. 6 - Nov. 15

Staff Reports
Cases heard before Judge John Agostini on Tuesday, Nov. 6.
 
Anthony Deordio, 43, of North Adams had a not guilty plea entered on his behalf on a single count of rape and abuse of a child.
 
He was ordered to be held at the Berkshire County House of Correction on $10,000 bail. The incident allegedly occurred in North Adams on Nov. 1, 2017, and involved an 8-year-old girl.
 
Richard Dixon, 34, of Pittsfield had not-guilty pleas entered on his behalf on single counts of possession of child pornography, and dissemination of visual material of a child in a state of nudity.
 
He was ordered to be held at the Berkshire County House of Correction on $5,000 bail. He is accused of being in possession of child pornography in Pittsfield between Aug. 23, 2018, and Sept. 14, 2018. He is also accused of distributing pornography on August 26, 2018.
 
Davon Kelly, 39, of Pittsfield had not-guilty pleas entered on his behalf on single counts of assault by means of a dangerous weapon, discharging a firearm within 500 feet of a dwelling, and armed career felon in connection with an incident in Pittsfield on Aug. 19, 2018, and involved a 27-year-old man.
 
He also had not-guilty pleas entered on his behalf on single counts of illegal possession of a firearm, illegal possession of a loaded handgun, possession of a firearm with a defaced serial number, possession of ammunition without a firearm identification card, possession of heroin, and armed career felon.
 
Those charges stem from an incident in Pittsfield on Aug. 30, 2018. 
 
He was ordered to be held at the Berkshire County House of Correction without bail.
 
Kurt Vosburgh, 54, of Stamford, Vt., had not-guilty pleas entered on his behalf on single counts of distribution of heroin and possession of heroin, second offense.
 
He was ordered to be held at the Berkshire County House of Correction on $1,000 bail. The charges stem from an incident in North Adams on Oct. 5, 2018. 
 
Cases heard before Judge John Agostini on Wednesday, Nov. 7.
 
Shane Smith, 34, of Pittsfield, had a not-guilty plea entered on his behalf on a single count of providing misleading information to a police officer.
 
He was ordered to be held at the Berkshire County House of Correction on $3,000 bail. Smith is accused of misleading officers during the investigation into the death of 34-year-old William Catalano.
 
Peter Campbell, 22, of Pittsfield pleaded guilty to two counts of armed assault with intent to rob and a single count of manslaughter.
 
He was ordered to serve 4 1/2 to six years at the Massachusetts Correctional Institution at Cedar Junction. Campbell was part of a joint venture to rob 29-year-old Anthony Gamache and during the robbery, Gamache was shot by Campbell's accomplice and later died.
 
Campbell also pleaded guilty to a single count of intimidation of a witness. He was ordered to serve two to 2 1/2 years in state prison on that charge. Campbell admitted to intimidating a witness in a criminal matter between Oct. 16, 2015, and Nov. 2, 2015.
 
Cases heard before Judge John Agostini on Tuesday, Nov. 13.
 
Marchenne Hanson, 40, of Pittsfield had not-guilty pleas entered on his behalf on single counts of armed assault with intent to rob, assault and battery by discharging a firearm, illegal possession of a firearm, and discharging a firearm within 500 feet of a building.
 
He was released on $1,000 bail. The charges stem from an incident on Elm Street in Pittsfield on June 8, 2018.
 
Joseph Pini, 41, of North Adams pleaded guilty to a single count of possession of heroin with intent to distribute.
 
He was ordered to serve two years at the Berkshire County House of Correction. The charge relates to a search warrant at his home on August 9, 2017.
 
Jason Sefton, 20, of Pittsfield entered a not-guilty plea on a single count of murder.
 
He was ordered to be held at the Berkshire County House of Correction without bail. Sefton is accused of stabbing and beating 34-year-old William Catalano in Pittsfield on Oct. 15, 2018.
 
Anthony Boone, 22, of Pittsfield entered a not-guilty plea on a single count of murder.
 
He was ordered to be held at the Berkshire County House of Correction without bail. Sefton is accused of stabbing and beating 34-year-old William Catalano in Pittsfield on Oct. 15, 2018.
 
Bruce Romano, 28, of Pittsfield entered a not-guilty plea on a single count of murder. 
 
He was ordered to be held at the Berkshire County House of Correction without bail. Romano is accused of stabbing and beating 34-year-old William Catalano in Pittsfield on Oct. 15, 2018.
 
Joseph Stone, 40, of Pittsfield was found not guilty of a single count of assault with intent to commit rape. 
 
The jury found him not guilty after two hours of deliberation regarding an incident allegedly involving a woman who is now 43 in Pittsfield on Oct. 23, 2016.
 
Alexis Gkoles, 36, of Great Barrington had a not-guilty plea entered on his behalf on a single count of rape.
 
He was released on personal recognizance. He is accused of sexually assaulting a 36-year-old woman in Great Barrington on Dec. 3, 2017.
 
Frederick Murnane, 29, of Sheffield had not-guilty pleas entered on his behalf on two counts of cruelty to animals and a single count of burning a dwelling house.
 
He was released on personal recognizance. Murnane is accused of setting fire to a home he owned in Becket on Aug. 28, 2018, and two cats inside died as a result.
     

Four Residents Displaced Following Pittsfield Fire

By Andy McKeever
iBerkshires Staff

The slate roof kept heat and fire inside the apartment. Firefighters had to punch a hole through the roof for ventilation. 
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Four people are displaced after a fire tore through the rear of their South Church Street home.
 
Fire Chief Robert Czerwinski said firefighters responded at 12:24 Saturday afternoon to the call at 7 South Church St. One of the occupants, who was the only one home at the time, of the two-family home heard the smoke alarm and then found a fire on the rear porch. He escaped the building through the front stairway. 
 
"On arrival, there was heavy fire on the second floor rear. Guys made an interior attack, knocked down a lot of the fire on the inside of the second floor," Czerwinski said.
 
The cause of the fire had not yet been determined at the scene but later fire investigators found cause to be the careless disposal of smoking materials. The fire had started on the porch and it spread into the apartment and into the attic. The fire did not fall to the first floor.
 
"We think the wind may have had a play in the spread of the fire. Because of a strong wind coming out of the west, it kind of blew it into that apartment. The other problem we had is that it is an old house, probably over 100 years old, and it has a slate roof on it. The slate roof helped keep a lot of the heat and flame in there," Czerwinski said.
 
Firefighters had to knock the slate roof off in order to ventilate the building. The fire was snuffed out fairly quickly and firefighters were packing up to leave shortly before 2 p.m. Nobody was injured in the blaze.
 
The response consisted of three engines, a ladder truck, and Car-2.
 
The fire left the building uninhabitable for now and the damage was estimated at $10,000 to $20,000. Czerwinski said all of the occupants have somewhere else to go for the evening.
     

Man Dies Following Pittsfield Shooting

Updated: The district attorney's office said 30-year-old David Green Jr. died from a gunshot wound to the neck on Wednesday. The case is now being investigated as a homicide. 
 
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — A man was found with a potentially life-threatening gunshot wound just before 9 a.m. on Saturday. 
 
Police were alerted to the shooting by a ShotSpotter activation near the intersection of Spring Street and Willow Street. There they encountered the 30-year-old man, who has not been identified.
 
Officers performed life-saving measures on the man, and he was later transported to Berkshire Medical Center for treatment.
 
Anyone who may have witnessed, or who may have information about this incident, is asked to contact the Detective Bureau at 413-448-9705. Information can be provided anonymously via the Detective Bureau, the Drug Tips hotline at 413-448-9708, or by texting PITTIP and your message to TIP411 (847411).
 
The investigation is being conducted by members of the Pittsfield Police Department with the assistance of the Berkshire County sheriff's department and Massachusetts State Police.
     

Pittsfield Man Being Charged for Illegal Firearms, Ammunition Cache

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Police have arrested a local man with illegally possessing firearms and thousands of rounds of ammunition.
 
Mathew Sylvia, 32, of Linden Street was found in possession of eight firearms (rifles, shotguns and handguns) as well as a flare gun that was modified to fire shotgun rounds, say police. Sylvia also possessed more than 13,000 rounds of ammunition in both handgun, shotgun and rifle calibers (.22, .25, .357, .38, 9mm, .45, 7.62 x39, .410, 20ga and 12 ga).
 
According to police, Sylvia does not possess a valid License to Carry (LTC) or Firearms Identification Card (FID).
 
A tip that Sylvia was going to receive a large shipment of ammunition came on Oct. 19, while detectives were investigating the homicide of William Catalano, who was stabbed outside his Robbins Avenue home on Oct. 15.
 
Detectives applied for and received several search warrants that authorized both the seizure of more than 60 pounds of ammunition that was at a local shipping company, as well as a search of Sylvia's residence. Multiple firearms and more ammunition were seized by investigators at the residence.
 
Additionally, Sylvia possessed multiple high capacity feeding devices (magazines) for multiple firearms.
 
He will be charged with multiple counts of possession of firearms and ammunition without an FID, improper storage of firearms, and possession of large capacity feeding devices.
 
Sylvia was taken into custody by Central District Court Probation personnel based upon the investigation, which constituted a violation of his existing probation conditions.
 
The Pittsfield Detective Bureau received assistance in the case from the state police and the federal Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms.
     
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