NY man charged with breaking and entering at historic Stockbridge estate


STOCKBRIDGE -- A New York man attending Mercy Sunday services was arrested Sunday afternoon attempting to break into nearby Naumkeag, a Gilded Age estate and National Historic Landmark, while the event was underway.

According to Police Chief Robert M. Eaton Jr., the incident happened at about 12:45 p.m. Christopher Labatte, 19, of New Lebanon, N.Y., was charged with breaking and entering.

Labatte was held overnight at the Berkshire County House of Correction. He was arraigned Monday morning in Southern Berkshire District Court, where he pleaded not guilty and was released on $350 cash bail.

His next court date is June 2 in Southern Berkshire District Court.

According to Stockbridge police, Labatte was in Stockbridge attending the Mercy Sunday services at the National Shrine of Divine Mercy on Prospect Hill Road.

At some point, he left the Shrine and went up the road to Naumkeag, an historic property owned by The Trustees of Reservations. Labatte entered the main building through a basement window, which he had broken with a brick, according to police.

Once inside the building, the audible alarms went off. Officer Adelheid Teutsch arrived on the scene and apprehended Labatte as he was fleeing the building.

Noted for its landscaping and its architecture, Naumkeag was built as the summer home of Joseph Choate, an attorney, in the late 1880s. The 44-room Berkshire "cottage" is considered an architectual masterpiece.


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