Thursday May 3, 2012

PITTSFIELD -- A Dalton man will be on probation and has paid restitution as punishment for breaking into a neighbor’s house and stealing jewelry and checks, which he then forged and cashed.

On Tuesday in Central Berkshire District Court, Joseph Hassoun, 22, of Raymond Drive, was given 18 months of probation and paid $2,375 in restitution in line with a joint recommendation by his attorney, Timothy J. Shugrue, and the Berkshire District Attorney’s Office.

Dalton Police said Hassoun broke into a neighbor’s house in February, stole various items, including two checkbooks, and cashed more than $900 in stolen checks. He apparently committed the crimes to feed his prescription drug habit.

Judge Paul M. Vrabel gave Hassoun probation on two counts of forgery, while eight other charges, including four counts of uttering a false check and a single count of breaking and entering in the daytime for a felony, were continued without a finding and dismissed.

The judge also ordered Hassoun to return to the Connecticut drug treatment center where he has been staying since March.

Shugrue said the treatment center has a high success rate.

"We hope he will become a productive member of society again," the attorney told the court.

Hassoun was held at the Berkshire County Jail & House of Correction without bail for five days beginning on March 15 on a probation violation.

Hassoun was previously on probation from Sept.


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29, 2011, until March when he violated his terms by committing the new crimes. That probation was related to a May 2010 incident in which Hassoun was caught vandalizing cars at Doc’s Auto Sales.