Pittsfield man charged with stealing Blu-rays, guitar, debit card

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PITTSFIELD >> A city man already wanted on four warrants is facing new charges alleging he stole items including a debit card, more than 20 Blu-ray discs and a $1,000 electric guitar.

Benjamin M. Fielding, 27, was allegedly seen on surveillance video using the card to make purchases at Big Y, Rite Aid and Walmart, including a Sony Playstation 4.

Fielding allegedly told police he had permission to use the card, a claim the cardholder denies.

Police were contacted on April 11 regarding the alleged thefts from an Union Street apartment, according to a report authored by Pittsfield Police Patrol Officer Andrew McMahon. The alleged victim told police he'd allowed Fielding to stay in his apartment over the weekend and found his debit card and the other items missing on Monday.

The victim told police he'd contacted his bank and found eight unauthorized transactions on his card.

Police contacted the bank and obtained the times and places the allegedly unauthorized purchases were made.

Fielding was identified through surveillance images obtained from some of the affected stores, according to McMahon's report.

Fielding was located on North Street on Tuesday afternoon and arrested on the outstanding warrants and his new charges.

Assistant Berkshire District Attorney Jeffrey Clarke argued to have Fielding's bail revoked on his open cases and a $5,000 bail set on his new matter, noting the number of warrants and charges he's accumulated suggest he was unlikely to continue appearing in court when required to do so.

He pleaded not guilty in Central Berkshire District Court on Wednesday to charges of larceny over $250, receiving a stolen credit card, two counts of improper use of a credit card under $250 and one count each of improper use of a credit card over $250 and forgery of a document.

Fielding had warrants related to open district court cases from November 2015 on charges of possession of heroin, and receiving stolen property and larceny under $250 by false pretense for allegedly selling stolen watches he said he'd purchased from someone else.

He also had a warrant related to his open Superior Court case on charges of possession of Class A with intent, conspiracy to violate drug laws and committing a drug violation near a school or park.

He had a fourth warrant for violating probation in a shoplifting case for failure to pay fines.

Judge William Rota ruled that Fielding would repay those fines at a rate of $30 per day he's held in custody at the Berkshire Jail and House of Correction.

Fielding's attorney, Joseph Zlatnik, argued that his client wasn't given adequate bail warnings at earlier proceedings and the District Court did not have authority to revoke bail in his open Superior Court case.

Court records apparently did not show for certain that Fielding had received bail warnings, so rather than revoke bail, Rota set $1,000 bail in one of his open cases and $2,500 in the other and another $2,500 in his most recent case.

Fielding is due back in court on May 26 for a pretrial hearing.

Contact Bob Dunn at 413-496-6249.


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