GREAT BARRINGTON -- A New York man on Monday denied charges that he stole nearly $11,000 worth of antiques in South County over the weekend while on a family skiing trip to the Berkshires.
Alfred Girardi, 47, of Oyster Bay, pleaded not guilty to three counts of larceny over $250, and one count of larceny under $250 at his arraignment in Southern Berkshire District Court.
District Court Judge Charles W. Groce released Girardi on personal recognizance, under the condition that he report twice a week by phone to the court's probation officers.
Girardi's next court date is April 18.
According to local authorities, Girardi allegedly swiped antiques from four Great Barrington stores within a one-hour period on Sunday afternoon. Girardi also allegedly stole items from an antique shop in Sheffield, but police in that town have yet to file criminal charges. That incident remains under investigation.
The stolen items -- all recovered by police -- include books from North Star Rare Books and Yellow House Books that are valued at $5,675 and $3,050 respectively. In addition, Girardi apparently took a $1,100 antique box from Kleinwald Art & Antiques and a wooden figure valued at $195 from the Great Barrington Antiques Center.
In Sheffield, where the crime spree allegedly began, a candlestick worth $600 was pilfered from Vintage Books. All the stolen items have been recovered, according to police.
Assistant District Attorney Dana Parsons asked the court to set bail for Girardi at $500 given the "very high-priced items" that were stolen. Girardi had been held on $2,500 bail pending his arraignment.
But Groce released Girardi on personal recognizance after his attorney, Elizabeth J. Quigley of Pittsfield, said setting bail would create a hardship for his family. They would have to travel from Jiminy Peak Mountain Resort in Hancock, where they were staying, to Great Barrington to post bail, she said.
She said the defendant's wife could not drive that distance to retrieve her husband because Great Barrington Police had impounded Girardi's Honda Pilot after he was arrested.
Quigley described the situation as a "logistical nightmare" for Girardi's wife, and two young children, ages 9 and 12. She also noted that Girardi has no previous criminal record, and is employed by a marketing firm on Long Island.
"He has every reason to come back here and deal with these charges," she said. "He's not going to bolt."
While the prosecution didn't offer a motive behind the thefts, Quigley said Girardi was dealing with some mental health issues.
A description of the Honda Pilot is what law enforcement authorities used to apprehend Girardi, according to Great Barrington Police.
Shortly after the Sheffield theft was reported about 1:30 p.m. on Sunday, police alerted area law enforcement agencies to be on the lookout for Girardi's vehicle. The description also included the vehicle's license plate number, which had been provided by an employee of Vintage Books.
Based on the vehicle's description, West Stockbridge Police Officer Shannon McDermott stopped the Pilot about 2:30 p.m. in the center of town as Girardi traveled west on Route 41. Great Barrington Police assisted in the arrest.
Police officers Victor Zucco and Samuel Stolzar of Great Barrington and Tricia Wilkinson of Sheffield are in charge of the investigation.
To reach Dick Lindsay:
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