NORTH ADAMS — A city man was held on $750 cash bail Wednesday for allegedly attempting to break into a vehicle on River Street before its owner chased him away on Tuesday afternoon.
Police allege Zachariah Chaffee, 35, had attempted to break into to a car on River Street at about 2:40 p.m., but was chased off by the woman who owned it. She described the perpetrator as a white male with long, dark hair and a beard.
Officers searched the area and spotted Chaffee in a wooded area less than one-tenth of a mile away from the crime scene, according to a police report filed by North Adams Police Officer Albert Zoito.
Chaffee was allegedly found to be in possession of a screw driver, which had a red residue believed to be the same color of the paint on the car. Police also noted that a hat was found in the wooded area that matched a description of a hat worn by the suspect described by another witness, according to the report.
The victim had allegedly told police that she spilled coffee on the suspect as she chased him away, and officers stated that Chaffee's shirt smelled like coffee when they arrested him.
Assistant Berkshire District Attorney Robert Royce asked bail be set at $1,500, noting Chaffee's lengthy history of larceny charges and trouble staying on probation.
Chaffee's attorney, Sarah Morse-Field, questioned the police report, specifically noting that the victim's description of the suspect does not match Chaffee's appearance.
"Obviously looking at him he doesn't have long, dark hair," Morse-Field said.
Morse-Field also said that Chaffee has to use a screwdriver in order to get into the back door of his apartment, hence his possession of it when he was arrested.
"I think it's a very weak case," Morse-Field said.
Judge Paul Vrabel ordered bail be set at $750 cash. Chaffee's next appearance is scheduled to be at an Aug. 3 pretrial conference in Northern Berkshire District Court.
Contact Adam Shanks at 413-496-6376