PITTSFIELD -- A 64-year-old man who allegedly threatened to blow up City Hall over a tax issue is being held on $5,000 cash bail.

David Shufelt, 64, of Fort Hill Avenue, Pittsfield, went into Pittsfield City Hall about 10:30 a.m. on Tuesday to pay his back taxes, police said.

An exchange between Shufelt and a 24-year-old female employee initially began as a "casual conversation" but turned into "a one-sided rant" by Shufelt, who complained that he can't afford to pay for his insulin because of all the city taxes he pays, police said.

He allegedly told the woman that if he had a bomb, or the means to make one, he would walk into the office, blow up the building and kill everyone inside. He told the woman he would kill her as well, police said.

The woman told the police that Shufelt never raised his voice during the exchange.

At one point, he made comments about the woman's appearance, telling her "she was beautiful and in the wrong business," police said.

The woman told police she wasn't sure what Shufelt was making a reference to, but was "more concerned with the bomb threats."

Shufelt pleaded not guilty in Central Berkshire District Court on Tuesday to a single count of felony making a false bomb threat. Judge Paul M. Vrabel ordered the defendant held on $5,000 cash or $50,000 surety bail.

According to court documents, Shufelt has a police record going back to the 1960s that includes assault, trespassing and making annoying phone calls, among other charges. Many of the charges were later dismissed.

Shufelt's attorney, Ryan Smith, said his client hadn't been convicted of a crime in more than 20 years and always shows up for court.

The attorney said the statements Shufelt allegedly made, although possibly inappropriate, did not rise to the level of a threat. He asked that Shufelt be released on personal recognizance. The DA's office was seeking $10,000 cash bail.

Shufelt is due back in court on Nov. 22.

To reach Andrew Amelinckx:
aamelinckx@berkshireeagle.com,
or (413) 496-6249
On Twitter: @BE_TheAmelinckx