PITTSFIELD -- One half of a local couple facing charges for a purse snatching in front of a city grocery store in August 2012 tearfully pleaded guilty to four crimes and was sentenced to a year in jail and two years of probation.
"I know what I did is wrong," said 33-year-old Jeanne C. Kuklewicz, tears running down her cheeks. "I’m very ashamed and I’m sorry."
On Aug. 11, 2012, Kuklewicz and her husband, Joseph Baker, 30 -- admitted heroin addicts -- were driving around the parking lot of the Price Chopper grocery store on Hubbard Avenue looking for a way to "get money" when Kuklewicz jumped out of the car and grabbed a 23-year-old Savoy woman’s purse, according to police and prosecutors.
The woman was knocked to the ground and suffered scrapes to her knee and hand during the incident, Pittsfield police said.
As the women struggled over the purse, Baker pulled his wife back to the car, dropping the handbag in the process before they drove off, according to the Berkshire District Attorney’s Office.
Police tracked Kuklewicz down the day after the incident. The police officers initially planned to summon Kuklewicz into court, but after she began screaming, cursing and striking an officer and had to be pepper sprayed she was arrested, police said.
On Thursday, both Kuklewicz and Baker appeared before Judge John A. Agostini in Berkshire Superior Court.
Kuklewicz pleaded guilty to single counts of unarmed robbery, assault and battery on a public employee, resisting arrest and disorderly conduct.
Her attorney, Thomas J. Donohue Jr., told the court his client sought drug treatment right after the incident and is currently drug-free. He asked the judge to give Kuklewicz probation.
The judge said the woman had wasted previous opportunities in which she avoided jail and sentenced her to a two year sentence at the Berkshire County Jail & House of Correction, with one year to be served and the rest of the sentence suspended for two years. During the probation period Kuklewicz must refrain from using illegal drugs and undergo drug testing and counseling.
Baker previously appeared in court in late August and plead guilty to his charge of a single count of larceny from a person. On Thursday he was sentenced to two years of probation for his role in the crime.
First Assistant Berkshire District Attorney Paul J. Caccaviello asked for a year in jail for Baker. Baker’s attorney, Glenn W. Keiderling Jr., had asked for probation. Baker must continue to seek drug counseling, must remain drug free and will be randomly drug tested while on probation.
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