PITTSFIELD -- After fleeting Internet fame and an alleged multi-state crime spree, a Virginia man was back in the Berkshires on Friday to face carjacking charges.
Michael Tarpeh, 24, of Stafford, Va., also known as Michael Boadi or Bigggggg Mike, is accused of robbing a man at the travel plaza on the Massachusetts Turnpike in Lee and stealing his car.
About 5 a.m. on Feb. 22, 2013, Tarpeh pulled into the turnpike service area, parked at a gas pump and went inside to pay for gas, according to Massachusetts State Police. The black 2001 Lexus sedan he was driving had been stolen barely an hour before in Troy, N.Y., where Tarpeh allegedly robbed a man of his wallet, cellphone and car by telling him he had a knife, police said.
Tarpeh allegedly used the man's stolen credit card to buy gas and breakfast at McDonald's. When Tarpeh couldn't get the car to start, police said, he accosted a man in the parking lot, telling him he had a knife and to hand over his car keys.
The man tried to run away, but he slipped and fell and was set upon by Tarpeh, who punched him in the face multiple times, police said.
The man's pocket ripped and his wallet, cellphone and keys spilled out. When he awoke some time later surrounded by shattered pieces of a terra cotta planter, his car and $150 in cash was gone.
The man was taken to the hospital and treated for a fractured right elbow and a concussion, according to the report.
Tarpeh later popped up at the University of Connecticut in Storrs, where he partied with students, and allegedly stole a number of their credit cards. He next turned up at Ohio State University, in Columbus, where he stayed for several days, again partied with students and took photos with fans.
All the while, Tarpeh, who police said had aspirations of becoming a reality television star, was Tweeting about his exploits and taunting the police and federal agents. He quickly gained followers on Twitter with people cheering him on as he continued to elude law enforcement. At one point he Tweeted: "Running from the feds but taking this time to tweet all my fans and Osu supporters... #crimeLife."
By the time he was arrested in March 2013 by Iowa State Police for allegedly stealing gas near Council Bluffs, he was wanted in four states. After his arrest, he was shipped back to West Virginia by the U.S. Marshal's Service to face charges in connection with an attack on a woman in February 2012.
In that case, he drove a woman home from a party in Morgantown, choked and beat her and stole her computer and other items, according to WBOY.com.
He pleaded to charges of malicious assault and grand larceny in September and is serving a two- to 10-year prison sentence.
He was transported to Massachusetts, where he pleaded not guilty in Berkshire Superior Court on Friday to felony charges of carjacking, assault and battery with a dangerous weapon and larceny of a motor vehicle and misdemeanor assault and battery charges.
Judge John A. Agostini ordered him held at the Berkshire County Jail & House of Correction on $200,000 bail.
First Assistant Berkshire District Attorney Paul J. Caccaviello and Tarpeh's attorney, Glenn W. Keiderling Jr., agreed to a July trial date.
The status of the New York and Connecticut cases is unclear.
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