Dalton man gets 18 months for robbery spree that fed heroin addiction

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PITTSFIELD >> A Dalton man has been sentenced to 18 months in jail for a robbery spree last fall that his attorney blamed on a heroin addiction.

Paul Lester, Jr., 22, pleaded guilty to 34 charges, including the theft of approximately $12,500 worth of construction equipment from his father's business.

Judge William A. Rota called the a sentence "generous."

Lester committed a series of home and vehicle break-ins from an area spanning between Dalton Division and Grange Hall roads beginning on Nov. 1, 2015.

Following his arrest in January on a series of warrants connected to the larcenies, he told police he may have broken into up to 50 vehicles.

Lester said he targeted unlocked vehicles and a "few" times, entered unlocked garages and targeted the vehicles inside, all in an effort to get money for drugs.

In instances where he stole a credit or debit card, he would purchase a gift card with them, then transfer those funds onto a prepaid bank card and withdraw cash, which he would use to purchase drugs, he told police.

Lester also admitted to breaking into his parents' home and stealing items from inside there as well. He also admitted to stealing construction equipment including a tiller, stump grinder and wood chipper and later selling it.

"If he didn't have a heroin addiction, none of this would have happened," said Lester's attorney, David Cafarelli.

In all, Lester pleaded guilty to 15 counts of breaking and entering, 13 counts of larceny, two counts of receiving stolen property, and one count each of improper use of a credit card, uttering a false check, forgery of a check and possession of a Class A drug.

He will serve his sentence at the Berkshire Jail and House of Correction.

Contact Bob Dunn at 413-496-6249.


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