PITTSFIELD — A Pittsfield woman has been arrested in connection with a Sunday night armed robbery at the Cumberland Farms on Dalton Avenue.
Heidi L. Bliss-Reed, 35, of Onota Street, is believed to be the getaway driver in the incident, the latest in a string of armed robberies in the city. Prosecutors would not comment on whether they believe this robbery is connected to any of the other cases.
Pittsfield, Dalton and state police were dispatched to the store about 10:20 p.m. for a report of a male with his face covered robbing the store, according to a probable cause report filed in court.
The suspect was brandishing a firearm, and left with an undisclosed amount of cash, according to two clerks who were on duty at the time of the holdup. The suspect then fled on foot toward Meadowview Drive.
A third witness told police they saw the suspect get into the passenger side of a dark-colored GMC Yukon before it left the area. That witness was able to provide police with a description of the vehicle and a partial plate number.
The registered owner of a vehicle matching that description was identified with a Tyler Street address. The owner of the Yukon was not identified in Bliss-Reed's court files.
About 10:54 p.m., police spotted the suspect vehicle near the owner's address and performed a traffic stop.
Bliss-Reed allegedly gave inconsistent statements to police about whether anyone else had driven the vehicle and a witness inside the car told police that Bliss-Reed told her to tell officers they had just stopped by the nearby Sherwin-Williams store to pick up a friend.
According to the same witness, Bliss-Reed heard on a police scanner that the Yukon was being sought.
Police said the case is still under investigation.
Pittsfield Mayor Linda Tyer praised the work of city police in making the arrest.
"I am very proud of the Pittsfield Police Department for their excellent work in a successful arrest in connection to the robbery incident on Sunday," Tyer said in a statement released Monday evening. "They continue to be hard at work in their investigations of the past incidents, and are diligently focused on keeping the city safe."
She also thanked the witnesses who provided information to police, leading up to the arrest.
"The keen observation and quick-thinking of these individuals who 'saw something and said something' is to be commended," she said in her statement. "As we move forward together as a community, it is important that we understand the impact of this combination of good police work and vigilance in our neighborhoods, and the crucial role this shared responsibility plays in helping to keep our city safe as a whole," Tyer said.
Bliss-Reed pleaded not guilty in Central Berkshire District Court on Monday morning to charges of armed and masked robbery. Judge William Rota set bail at $1,000 and ordered her to return to court on Feb. 8 for a pretrial hearing.
The incident on Sunday night marked the 12th armed robbery in Pittsfield since Nov. 23, the most recent of which were a pair of robberies Saturday evening within 30 minutes of each other.
A suspect in a 13th robbery has been arrested and is facing charges of larceny from a person in the Dec. 10 unarmed robbery of Zuke's Soups on West Street.