Tuesday May 8, 2012

PITTSFIELD -- Brandon C. Wood, the alleged accomplice in a robbery at a local credit union in March, pleaded not guilty Monday in Berkshire Superior Court to a charge of unarmed robbery and remains in jail on $1 million surety bail.

Wood, 31, of Jason Street, Pittsfield, was originally charged as an accessory in the March 30 robbery of the Elm Street branch of the Greylock Federal Credit Union. But a grand jury indicted him on the same charge -- unarmed robbery -- as Brenda Santos, the 22-year-old woman who is accused of robbing the bank.

According to court documents, Wood met Santos in rehab, came to Pittsfield the day before the robbery, and fled back to Boston just after the crime was committed.

That day, Santos, of Whitman, allegedly walked in to the bank wearing a hooded sweatshirt and dark sunglasses and handed a teller a handwritten note demanding money and made off with $2,900 in cash. The money was allegedly spent on heroin.

Wood's attorney, Thomas J. Donohue Jr., has said that Wood didn't know Santos planned to rob the bank.

Donohue said Wood has family in Pittsfield and was currently taking a semester off from the University of Mas sachusetts in Boston where he was a student.

Santos told police Wood wrote the note she used in the holdup, according to a probable cause report. The note matches those used in two attempted bank robberies in Brookline, police said.

Santos and Wood, along with 26-year-old William Curtin, of Dedham, are also facing attempted robbery and other charges in Brookline from an April 4 incident and also are suspects in an April 2 robbery in Boston, according to police and prosecutors. The three were arrested in Brookline on April 4.

Wood had been held without bail since April 12 on a probation violation for his charges in Brookline.

He was on probation for a December 2011 case in which he admitted stealing power tools worth $700 from Home Depot. Wood had a final probation violation hearing on Monday in Central Berkshire District Court and was given time served and had his probation terminated.

On Monday, Judge Daniel Ford ordered Wood be held at the Berkshire County Jail & House of Correction on $100,000 cash or $1,000,000 surety bail.

Santos is being held on $250,000 cash or $2.5 million bail bond.

The two defendants are expected to be tried separately.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant Berkshire District Attorney Marianne Shelvey and was investigated by members of the Pittsfield Police Department with assistance from the Boston Office of the FBI Violent Crimes Task Force.