Alleged thief held without bail after arraignment


PITTSFIELD -- A city man who allegedly walked into a South County convenience store wearing a mask and stole money from the cashier earlier this month is being held without bail following his arraignment on Tuesday in Central Berkshire District Court.

Robert A. Sykes, 23, of Melrose Avenue, had his bail on an earlier domestic abuse case revoked by Judge Paul M. Vrabel at the request of the prosecution. Sykes can be held for up to 60 days without bail. After that time he will have to post $2,500 cash or $25,000 bail bond.

He has pleaded not guilty to a single count of felony larceny from a person.

Police and prosecutors say Sykes walked into the Lipton Mart on Routes 7 and 20 in Lenox at about 10 a.m. on Feb. 11 wearing an orange ski mask, reached over the counter and grabbed about $35 from the cashier's wallet, which was on the counter because she was making a purchase. Assistant Berkshire District Attorney Dana Parsons said the cashier was badly shaken by what happened.

Sykes was brought in on a warrant by the Lenox Police Department. According to Parsons, after committing the larceny, Sykes checked himself into drug rehab at Berkshire Medical Center, asked to remain anonymous while there and parked his car in an inconspicuous place to avoid detection. The prosecutor said Sykes was known to have a bad drug habit.

Sykes' attorney, John A. Bernardo, said his client had no drug arrests on his record, would show up for court, and was trying to get into an out-of-state drug rehab facility. The attorney pointed out that there was nothing in the police report that indicated Sykes had threatened the woman or said anything at all to her.

Sykes' earlier case, scheduled for trial later this month, would likely be dropped because the alleged victim would refuse to take the stand, Bernardo told the court.

That case is from September 2012. Police allege Sykes beat up the mother of his child and took her cellphone battery to prevent her from calling 911.

Vrabel revoked bail on that case and set bail on the new case.

Sykes is scheduled to be in Southern Berkshire District Court in Great Barrington on Thursday.


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