Man gets 18 months for ATM thefts


PITTSFIELD -- After pleading guilty to 79 charges on Wednesday, a city man involved in a series of ATM thefts and storage facility break-ins was sentenced to 18 months in jail.

In Berkshire Superior Court, the prosecutor in the case cited Joseph Berry's cooperation with police and the testimony he gave in a trial that helped put a co-defendant away for a decade as reasons why the prosecution and defense recommended he be sentenced to jail not state prison.

Berry, 22, of Pittsfield, admitted to his role in a series of ATM thefts from city convenience stores and other businesses that began on June 1, 2011, and netted more than $5,000 in cash.

He also admitted to the break-ins of a self-storage facility on Hawthorne Avenue in Pittsfield, a second in Hinsdale and a third in Stephentown, N.Y. In the Stephentown break, a cache of guns was stolen. Seven of the guns "ended up on the street" according to Assistant Berkshire District Attorney Marianne Shelvey, who prosecuted the case.

Sergio M. Ponce, 27, of Pittsfield, was sentenced to up to three years in state prison on Tuesday for selling one of the stolen weapons, a semiautomatic SKS-45, to a police informant.

Shelvey said that Berry "did his best" to help police recover the weapons.

Berry was one of the main witnesses against Daniel Knight, 27, during his November trial. Knight was found guilty of 19 charges and was sentenced to serve between 10 and 12 years in state prison.

Berry's girlfriend, 22-year-old Marley Roraback, also took the stand against Knight. She later pleaded guilty to single counts of accessory after the fact on charges of breaking and entering in the nighttime and receiving stolen property over $250. She is serving a year of probation.

Shelvey said it was "economics" that drove Berry to join up with Knight and 35-year-old Jason Fuller, who remains on the run, to commit the crimes.

Berry had no criminal record before he racked up these charges, according to Shelvey.

"He really jumped into the deep end," the prosecutor told the court.

Superior Court Judge John A. Agostini ordered Berry to serve his 18 month sentence at the Berkshire County Jail & House of Correction. The sentence was in line with the joint sentencing recommendation offered by Shelvey and Berry's attorney, Edmund R. St. John III of Adams.

Berry was handcuffed and led away by court security to begin serving his sentence.

To reach Andrew Amelinckx:
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