Whitman woman who robbed Pittsfield credit union gets 'second chance' to turn her life around


PITTSFIELD -- While her accomplice is spending at least the next 3 1/2 years in prison, the woman police and prosecutors say actually robbed a city credit union last March is heading to rehab.

"You don't often get second chances in life," Judge John A. Agostini told a tearful Brenda Santos. "Don't squander this opportunity."

On Thursday in Berkshire Superior Court, Santos, 23, of Whitman, pleaded guilty to one count of unarmed robbery.

The judge sentenced her to two years of probation during which she must attend a six-month residential drug rehabilitation program and refrain from using drugs and alcohol. The sentence was in line with a plea deal between the Berkshire District Attorney's Office and Santos' attorney, Jill Sheldon.

Sheldon told the court Santos had been addicted to drugs at the time. Santos now has support from family members and wants to turn her life around, the lawyer said.

First Assistant Berkshire District Attorney Paul J. Caccaviello said that Santos had already been in jail for nearly a year awaiting the outcome of the case and had been willing to testify against 32-year-old Brandon Wood, her codefendant.

According to police and prosecutors, Santos walked into the Greylock Federal Credit Union office on Elm Street at 4:30 p.m. on March 30, 2012. Wearing a hooded sweatshirt and dark sunglasses, she handed a teller a note and made off with $2,900 in cash.

Police said Wood was behind the scheme and wrote the note used in the robbery.

The note -- "I know more about you than u think. No Dye Packs or tracers, wait 5 mins before Alerting Anyone!" -- was similar to one Wood used in a Boston robbery, according to a police report.

In that robbery, Wood walked into the Eastern Bank on Dartmouth Street in the Back Bay neighborhood, passed the teller a note and made off with $2,000 in cash, according to police.

Santos and Wood, who had met in rehab, were arrested last April 4 in Brookline, after police learned of their plans to rob two banks there, according to a probable cause report.

A third man, 27-year-old William Curtin, of Dedham, was also arrested in that case. All three were charged with conspiracy to commit a felony.

Santos' case in Brookline District Court remains pending. A hearing is scheduled for April 13. Her codefendants had their charges dismissed in that case back in July, according to the Norfolk District Attorney's Office.

Wood pleaded guilty last month in Berkshire Superior Court to unarmed robbery and was sentenced to 3 1/2 to five years in state prison. The deal allowed him to receive a concurrent sentence in the Boston robbery case.


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