PITTSFIELD -- A 52-year-old man was handed a six-month jail sentence after he admitted stealing a parrot named Clementine from a pet store.
After he made off with the bird, Charles L. Williamson Jr. of Perrine Avenue, Pittsfield, later tried sell it at several local businesses, including at least one bar, according to authorities.
In Central Berkshire District Court on Thursday, Williamson pleaded guilty to felony larceny over $250 and misdemeanor animal cruelty for stealing the sun conure -- a medium-sized, brightly colored parrot -- from the Petco on Merrill Road on Jan. 4.
His lawyer, Isabel Colonna, said that Williamson "took exception" to the animal cruelty charge, since he "has had pet birds in the past and knows how
Assistant District Attorney Kelly Mulcahy Kemp told the court the $600 parrot named Clementine is a tropical bird indigenous to South America and shouldn't have been out in the 30-degree weather. Petco employee Amy Cavanaugh reported that the bird had lost most of her tail feathers during the 24 hours she was in Williamson's possession.
On Jan. 4, Williamson stole Clementine and then attempted to sell the bird at Fin & Feather Pet Shop and Zen's Pub. He also stopped by Charlie's and The Hot Dog Ranch.
He eventually gave the bird to a woman who didn't know it had been stolen. The woman sheltered the animal until Clementine was located by the police and returned
According to Colonna, a "perfect storm" of events led her client to steal the bird. Williamson had just been released from the hospital where he had gone seeking help for alcohol problems, got into an argument with his wife, started drinking again and then stole the bird. Colonna said he suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder and depression.
Williamson also pleaded guilty in two unrelated cases. In one, he stole a bottle of vodka from A Mart in November, and in the second, he was caught trespassing at the Big Y in early January.
According to court documents, he has a criminal record in three states and is a level 3 sex offender.
Judge Paul M. Vrabel sentenced Williamson to a total of six months at the Berkshire County Jail & House of Correction. The defendant was credited with 63 days in jail awaiting the disposition of his case.
Williamson was already being held in jail on $5,000 bail for a charge of failing to register as a sex offender as a subsequent offense. He was convicted in 1985 of single counts of rape and abuse of a child and indecent assault and battery on a child under 14. As a level 3 offender, he is considered at the highest risk to re-offend by the state.
He has pleaded not guilty to a single felony charge for failing to register in Berkshire Superior Court. If convicted on the charge, he faces no less than five years in prison.
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