PITTSFIELD -- An alleged shoplifting spree at Walmart ended in drug charges for four city residents who pleaded not guilty to three felonies apiece on Wednesday in Central Berkshire District Court.
Jessica Fitzgerald, Joseph E. Matthews, Kamara L. Flascher and Kevin Reale, all of Pittsfield, each pleaded not guilty to single counts each of possession of cocaine and heroin with the intent to distribute and receiving stolen property over $250.
Two of the defendants, Matthews, 24, and Flascher, 29, were ordered to pay $1,000 and $500 in bail, respectively, and are free. Reale, 20, and Fitzgerald, 21, were released on personal recognizance.
According to a Pittsfield police report, officers pulled over a 2007 Chevrolet Impala driven by Fitzgerald and with the three others as passengers because its license plate matched a vehicle connected to a shoplifting report at Walmart on Hubbard Avenue.
After pulling the car over, police allegedly found 20 bundles of heroin on Reale and discovered cocaine and heroin with a street value of about $450 under the driver's seat, along with a digital scale disguised as a camera.
Police said they also found merchandise from Walmart, which included items like jeans and beef jerky, in the trunk.
Fitzgerald and the others were arrested and charged with the larceny and drug charges.
Matthews and Flascher were charged as subsequent offenders on the drug charges.
The defense attorneys for the defendants say the vehicle stop was illegal and anything discovered by police after the stop would be off-limits for prosecution.
"I see three [motions] right here," Matthews' lawyer, David Pixley, told the court as he pointed at the police report in his hand.
The defendants are all scheduled for hearings on March 11.