Bail set at $100,000 for suspect in Pittsfield armed robberies
PITTSFIELD — The only evidence that Damian Ivas participated in a series of armed robberies is the word of another suspect in the case.
Attorney Edward St. John III made that point during Ivas' bail hearing on Monday in Central Berkshire District Court.
Ivas, 40, has only been identified as a participant in those robberies by George Bliss, who is himself a suspect in the same six robberies. Bliss, 30, was arrested Jan. 26, about six days before Ivas was located and arrested on a warrant.
Prosecutors had originally scheduled a dangerousness hearing for Ivas, which could have held him without the right to bail for up to 120 days.
Prosecutors withdrew the request for the dangerousness hearing and asked Ripps to consider $100,000 bail on the armed robbery charges and another $10,000 bail on charges of assault with a dangerous weapon and resisting arrest, which constitute a separate case.
During his arrest, Ivas incurred additional charges for allegedly assaulting officers with a knife and resisting arrest.
He pleaded not guilty to all charges against him at his arraignment last week.
At Monday's hearing, St. John told Judge Michael Ripps that there is no physical nor identification evidence linking Ivas to a half-dozen armed robberies in Pittsfield between December 2015 and late January 2016.
He asked the court to set $5,000 bail on each matter.
Ripps elected to set $90,000 on the robbery charges and $10,000 on the other case. He is due back in court on April 7.
Ivas has the right to appeal those bail amounts in Berkshire Superior Court.
He and Bliss are suspects in six armed and masked robberies between Dec. 23 and Jan. 24.
Bliss became a suspect after his wife, Heidi L. Bliss-Reed, 35, was identified as the suspected getaway driver in the Jan. 24 robbery and faces one count of armed and masked robbery.
Her arrest led to the arrest of her husband, which, in turn, led to Ivas' arrest.
Six other armed robberies in Pittsfield, committed since Nov. 23, remain open investigations.
TALK TO US
If you'd like to leave a comment (or a tip or a question) about this story with the editors, please email us. We also welcome letters to the editor for publication; you can do that by filling out our letters form and submitting it to the newsroom.