Up to 4 years in prison for man who went on South Berkshire crime spree


PITTSFIELD — A Housatonic man has been sentenced to up to four years in prison for a South Berkshire burglary spree that was driven by what his lawyer called a "horrible" heroin addiction.

John L. Hobart III, 31, admitted to a total of 15 counts, including stealing copper and tools between October 2015 and January 2016. His targets included a church, a library and a contractor.

Assistant Berkshire District Attorney Richard Locke said Hobart's name became linked to an investigation into the area drug trade and a string of area break-ins beginning in August 2015.

Locke said a warrant was granted to place a GPS tracker on Hobart's vehicle.

Data from that tracker showed Hobart was making numerous stops at metal dealers, scrap yards and pawn shops, Locke said.

The investigation identified Hobart as having sold or pawned items in Connecticut and New York that had previously been reported stolen from homes and buildings in the area.

He was arrested in January 2016 in connection with several break-ins and thefts, and police said he confessed to those incidents as well as several others that were open cases at that point.

Stolen items as well as a backpack containing bolt cutters, gloves, pipe cutters and other burglary tools were found in Hobart's home during a search, Locke said.

Hobart admitted to stealing copper downspouts and other valuables from the Corpus Christi Church in Housatonic during building renovations, industrial batteries and tools from a Housatonic contractor, tools from a West Housatonic residence and more copper downspouts from the Stockbridge Library among other items.

Hobart also admitted to driving onto the Stockbridge Golf Club on Jan. 18, damaging part of the course and damaging a concrete bench before driving away from the scene.

His attorney, Raymond Jacoub, said Hobart sold the items to support a significant heroin habit that grew to 50 to 60 bags a day at its worst.

Hobart pleaded guilty in Berkshire Superior Court on Thursday to seven counts of larceny over $250, five counts of breaking and entering in the nighttime to commit a felony and one count each of receiving stolen property over $250, possession of burglary tools and leaving the scene of a property damage accident.

Under the terms of the agreed-upon sentence recommendation, Judge Daniel Ford sentenced Hobart to three to four years in prison, with credit for 79 days of time already served in custody.

He will serve his sentence at the Massachusetts Correctional Institution at Cedar Junction.

The investigations were conducted by members of the Great Barrington and Stockbridge Police departments.

Contact Bob Dunn at 413-496-6249.


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