Williamstown man charged in North Adams Regional Hospital bomb threat
NORTH ADAMS -- A Williamstown man is facing a felony charge for allegedly calling in a false bomb threat to the North Adams Regional Hospital on Monday afternoon.
James Lafleur, 55, of Langlois Avenue, was arrested Monday by Williamstown Police, who were accompanied by North Adams Police Detective John Leclair. He was held overnight at the Berkshire County Jail.
Lafleur allegedly called in a bomb threat at about 1 p.m. Monday, according to North Adams Police Director Michael Cozzaglio. Hospital officials called 911 at 1:12 p.m., and the hospital was locked down for nearly two hours while the buildings were searched and secured.
Cozzaglio said hospital information technology personnel obtained the phone number of the caller, which police used to locate the suspect.
According to Cozzaglio, the suspect may have had "some mental health issues going on."
In his incident report, Leclair wrote that at the time of the arrest, Lafleur said "he was extremely stressed due to being forced out of his home. Lafleur stated that other stress factors, such as a surgery he believes he needs to have, and the hospital not being able to schedule him an appointment to talk to someone until tomorrow, led to him making the fake threat via a telephone."
Lafleur pleaded not guilty in Northern Berkshire District Court on Tuesday and released on his own recognizance. A pretrial hearing was scheduled for March. He was instructed to set up some appointments at the Brien Center.
As a result of the threat, Cozzaglio noted, the hospital and the adjacent doctors' building were closed, causing patients to miss important medical appointments and procedures, "and causing a heightened level of insecurity and fear."
In addition, ambulances were diverted to hospitals in Pittsfield and Vermont, causing further delay in possibly urgent medical needs, he said.
If convicted of making a false bomb threat, Lafleur could face a term of more than two and a half years, Cozzaglio said.
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