PITTSFIELD -- Twenty-eight years after allegedly breaking into a Lanesborough home and stealing several guns, the man police say committed the crime was arraigned on the charges on Monday in Berkshire Superior Court.
Meanwhile, his co-defendant in the decades-old case is still at large.
According to law enforcement officials, Thomas J. Trottier, 51, was picked up by the Pittsfield Police on Friday after an argument about a hotel bill led police to find out Trottier was wanted on several active warrants from the 1980s.
According to a 1984 Lanesborough Police report, Trottier broke into a home on Alice Avenue on Jan. 6, 1984, and made off with nine handguns, several pieces of jewelry and a microwave oven. The police investigation allegedly revealed that Trottier had passed a forged check stolen from the residence and that he and another man, John Gagnon, 57, attempted to fence the stolen items in Pittsfield.
The duo was indicted for the crime, but both fled the area before arraignment. Gagnon remains on the run.
According to Assistant Berkshire District Attorney Joseph A. Pieropan, Trottier has criminal records from Florida, Maryland, Virginia and Pennsylvania and has been convicted of crimes in other states since 1984, but for some reason the warrants in Massachusetts never showed up.
"In 1984, computers didn't exist like they do today," he said.
Pieropan told the court that a warrant was lodged against Trottier after he fled and was put in the state computer system in 1997.
On Monday, Trottier pleaded not guilty to five charges, including breaking and entering, possession of a firearm without a license, and larceny by false pretense. He was ordered held on $25,000 cash or bail bond by Judge John A. Agostini. The defendant is already being held without bail in district court on a possible probation violation from a 1981 case. He also allegedly defaulted on a Northern Berkshire District Court Jury of Six case from 1983.
A hearing is scheduled for next month in the superior court case. Pieropan told the court he is in the process of tracking down the old evidence and speaking with witnesses.
Trottier is being represented by attorney Thomas J. Donohue on the superior court case and by attorney John A. Bernardo in district court.