PITTSFIELD — A North Adams man is being held without bail for allegedly breaking into a woman's apartment last month and setting it on fire.

Timothy LaFave, 28, broke into the woman's home on Oct. 3 while she and her young daughter were out of the house, ripped down the smoke detectors and started the fire in one of the bedrooms, according to North Adams Police reports.

The woman's chihuahua, who was crated in the apartment, was safely removed by a neighbor.

LaFave allegedly sent a series of text messages to the woman indicating that she'd," have nothing soon," and, in another message, that she'd "just lost everything."

After receiving the messages, the woman contacted police and asked them to check the home, but found it locked, with the lights out and no indication of a problem.

The first reports of fire came in shortly before 5 a.m., about 10 minutes after that check,, according to court records.

When contacted by police, LaFave denied sending a text the morning of the fire, telling the woman that he was leaving her house. He admitted to sending others, but he denied they were threats, police said.

And he denied entering the apartment and setting the fire, police said.

Nine adults and 13 children ranging in age from an infant to 14 were at home in other apartments in the building at the time of the fire.


LaFave pleaded not guilty in Berkshire Superior Court before Judge John Agostini to charges of nighttime felony breaking and entering, arson of a dwelling house, animal cruelty and violating an abuse prevention order.

He is due back in court on Jan. 5 for a hearing to determine if bail should be set and it what amount.

He was ordered held without bail following a dangerousness hearing in October in Northern Berkshire District Court.

Contact Bob Dunn at 413-496-6249.