A city woman admits to a series of break-ins, but denies new charges


PITTSFIELD -- A 26-year-old woman pleaded guilty on Tuesday to a laundry list of charges related to a series of break-ins in Southern and Central Berkshire County and was sentenced to 3 1/2 years in jail.

In a Jury of Six session of Central Berkshire District Court, a tearful Lauren M. Duffin, of Pittsfield, denied her newest set of charges related to a Lenox house break-in she allegedly committed last week, but pleaded guilty to charges in seven previous cases involving burglaries and jewelry thefts.

Duffin's attorney on the South County cases, Susan O'Leary, said her client was ashamed of what she did and understood she needed to get help for her heroin addiction.

O'Leary, along with attorney Julie Forest, who represented Duffin on three of the cases, asked for 18 months total in jail, but Judge Paul M. Vrabel went with prosecutor Joseph Yorlano's request of 31 2 years at the Berkshire County Jail & House of Correction.

Vrabel said that not only did the defendant's addiction take a toll on her, but on the victims as well. He read a letter aloud from a woman whose Lenox home was burglarized in November.

The woman said that because of the burglary and theft of heirloom jewelry that also had sentimental value, she has lost her sense of security and ability to trust people.

"We look through life with a different set of eyes," the Lenox woman wrote.

According to police and the prosecutor, Duffin broke into homes in Lenox, Pittsfield and Dalton, and mainly stole jewelry that was then sold to support her heroin habit.

Duffin was most recently arrested last week in connection to the burglary of a Housatonic Street residence in Lenox and was charged with burglary, drug possession and larceny. She denies any role in that burglary. She is due back in court on June 17 for a pretrial hearing on her latest charges.


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