GREAT BARRINGTON — The suspect in a spate of robberies led pursuing police on a dramatic high-speed chase Wednesday afternoon before crashing his pickup truck into a tree and proceeding to flee "on foot while throwing away wads of cash."
Police said they believe Nathan P. Lopes, 22, of Pittsfield, broke into and stole from multiple buildings and businesses in Egremont, Stockbridge and West Stockbridge between late Tuesday and the time of his arrest after 4 p.m. on Wednesday.
One of the businesses Lopes allegedly robbed was the Xicohtencatl Mexican Restaurant on Stockbridge Road.
A Great Barrington Police Department press release said Lopes went to extreme ends to escape.
While he sat in his truck in the parking lot of Mom's Restaurant on Route 23 in Egremont, Lopes may have placed a fraudulent call reporting a house break-in on Seekonk Cross Road in order to throw suspicious Egremont Police Sgt. Hans Carlsen off his trail, the statement said.
According to police, the plan backfired, as Seekonk Cross Road is in Great Barrington, so rather than distract Carlsen, the call only drew a second cruiser to the area — piloted by Great Barrington Police Officer Victor Zucco.
Zucco and Carlsen proceeded to search for the truck together, and together they gave chase when Zucco spotted its taillights in the distance.
The truck took off, briefly shaking off both officers, before Carlsen spotted it again on East Road in Alford, traveling fast, and gave chase, attempting to stop it.
The chase ended when Lopes crashed into a tree in West Stockbridge and attempted to flee while throwing away "wads of cash," presumably ill-gotten money collected during the alleged break-ins, according to police.
According to the GBPD press release, Lopes was "captured, subdued, and placed in handcuffs. He was then transported to Fairview Hospital for minor facial injuries. The truck was a total loss."
Lopes was found to be intoxicated and operating the vehicle on a suspended license.
Police say they found receipts from Xicohtencatl Mexican Restaurant at the scene of the accident.
Lopes was held on $7,500 bail on charges of breaking and entering a building during the nighttime to commit a felony, larceny over $250 and possession of a stolen vehicle. Pending further investigation, more town charges against Lopes may be forthcoming, police said.
Massachusetts State Police Crime Scene Services personnel from the Lee barracks also investigated the accident, and will additionally charge Lopes with intoxicated driving and operating a vehicle with a suspended license offenses.
Contact Phil Demers at 413-496-6214.