Sunday September 23, 2012

PITTSFIELD -- A 50-year-old man was sentenced to up to three years in prison after pleading guilty to receiving stolen items from a number of break-ins throughout Berk shire County in 2011.

Tuesday in Berkshire Superior Court, Timothy Smithies admitted to possessing various items, from a woman’s bathing suit to electronics to heirloom jewelry, taken from a slew of house breaks in Central Berkshire County between January and June 2011. He was also charged with possessing pepper spray without a license after a police raid on his residence turned up the weapon along with the stolen property.

After being indicted on one set of charges, Smithies was again arrested in March with his girlfriend Amber Margraf, after a traffic stop in Lee. The couple was found with stolen jewelry in their possession, and they were charged with more crimes.

Margraf, 25, of Chester, pleaded guilty to 18 charges for her role in the crimes in July and is serving a two- to four-year prison sentence.

On Tuesday, Smithies pleaded guilty to two counts of receiving stolen property over $250, a single count of possessing pepper spray without a license, and a traffic violation.

According to Smithies’ attorney, Marc C. Vincelette, his client had been a successful businessman who owned his own construction company, but after becoming hooked on prescription painkillers went into "a downward spiral," lost everything and was soon racking up drug charges.


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Vincelette said that Smith ies didn’t play as big a role in the housebreaks as Margraf had and that Smithies’ charges should be served locally at the Berkshire County Jail & House of Correction.

Assistant Berkshire District Attorney Marianne Shelvey asked for a two- to three-year prison sentence and three years of probation.

Judge John A. Agostini, citing the number of break-ins, sentenced Smithies to be tween one and three years in prison, followed by two years of probation during which time Smithies must remain drug and alcohol free and undergo drug testing.

The investigations were conducted by members of the Dalton, Lee, Pittsfield and Hinsdale police departments.

To reach Andrew Amelinckx:
aamelinckx@berkshireeagle.com,
or (413) 496-6249.
On Twitter: @BE_TheAmelinckx