Friday August 31, 2012

PITTSFIELD -- One of three men accused of a series of break-ins last year in South County is being held on $10,000 cash bail after turning himself in, while one of his co-defendants remains on the run and a third had his charges dismissed.

Michael D. Pieri, 26, of Becket, turned himself in to police on Thursday and was hauled into Berkshire Superior Court to have his warrant removed and bail set.

According to Assistant Berkshire District Attorney Marianne Shelvey, Pieri stopped reporting to the Probation Department in late February or early March. An arrest warrant was issued for him in July. Pieri had been out on personal recognizance.

According to his attorney Marc C. Vincelette, Pieri has been in Connecticut, was homeless for a time, and is now working two jobs and getting his life back together. Vincelette asked the court to give his client "a second chance."

Pieri is facing 52 charges for his alleged role in the break-in of 27 houses in the Becket area, according to Shelvey. He is also facing firearms charges.

There was hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of damage to the various houses, according to the prosecutor. Thieves ripped out whole walls in many of the homes to get to copper pipe, which was then sold to scrap dealers.

Pieri had been scheduled to testify against his codefendant, Michael A. Pahl, 25, who was implicated in two of the crimes.

On Monday, the Berkshire District Attorney's Office had told the court they would not be able to prosecute the Pahl case because they couldn't locate Pieri, their main witness against Pahl.

The third defendant, Tim othy Primm, 32, of Bristol, Conn., disappeared a short time after his September 2011 arraignment in Berkshire Superior Court on multiple counts of breaking and entering, larceny, and malicious des truction of property, among other charges, court papers allege.

A warrant was issued for Primm's arrest and he remains on the loose.

Judge John A. Agostini ordered Pieri held on $10,000 cash bail since "circumstances have changed" in his case.

Vincelette and Shelvey agreed to a September pretrial hearing.

Shelvey said she would likely be seeking state prison time for the defendant.

To reach Andrew Amelinckx:
aamelinckx@berkshireeagle.com,
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On Twitter: @BE_TheAmelinckx