From Bigfoot to police feline unit, pranks aplenty on April Fools' Day

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A cannabis-infused lunch special, capturing Bigfoot and a crime-fighting cat — all fake news Berkshire folks had to ponder on April Fools' Day.

The Red Lion Inn pulled its annual prank Monday with the usual banner stretched above the porch, making guests and passersby think twice about what they had read. This year, the staff at the Stockbridge landmark poked fun at the marijuana craze sweeping the county.

"Today's special: our famous Chicken POT Pie," with "POT" written over a cannabis leaf.

The April Fools' tradition began years ago with the Red Lion's late co-owner Jack Fitzpatrick, according to Sarah Eustis, CEO of Main Street Hospitality, the inn's parent company.

"We try not to take ourselves too seriously and enjoy making people smile as they drive past the inn and wonder.....really?" Eustis said in an email to The Eagle.

Those the Red Lion prank eventually figure out the joke, but not always.

Ten years ago, the inn raised a banner that read, "Welcome AIG Executives Retreat" raising the ire of several who took it seriously, according to an Eagle story.

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Several guests and townspeople were upset the disgraced insurance company would dare set foot in the Rockwellian community.

Big feet were apparently trampling on Adams early Monday morning, according to an "arrest report" the town's police department posted on their Facebook page. Around 1:30 a.m., officers nabbed a suspect they identified as Bigfoot, aka Sasquatch and Yeti, after the 6-foot-9-inch, 400-pound hairy male was found ripping up 20 trees at Jaeschke's Orchards. Police gave chase before apprehending the beast, without further incident, at Greylock Glen.

Once in custody, officers tried to interrogate Mr. Foot without much luck and relied on fingerprint analysis to formally identify the suspect.

"It was concluded that the male party has been on the FBI's most wanted list, and there were over 1,000 active extraditable warrants for his arrest throughout the United States," Adams police posted. Mr. Foot was arraigned in Northern Berkshire District Court and is being held until the fugitive from justice is turned over to the U.S. Marshals later this week.

The Pittsfield Police Department came up with the purr-fect April Fools' hoax. The city's finest announced on their Facebook page they have established a Feline Unit to compliment the K-9 corps used to track suspects and missing persons. Cats, police say, are better at handling shoplifting cases, especially sniffing out stolen food.

"Our feline officer can be summoned to the scene and will conduct a 'fresh air scent' and just like the K-9s, if the animal hits on the subject or vehicle we now have reasonable suspicion to search," police said.

The posting included a photo of the gray animal with black stripes wearing a mini-protective vest. What the cat is lacking is a proper name for her new home and career, police said. An "online contest" is being held to name the feline officer. One entry per Facebook post, please.

Dick Lindsay can be reached at rlindsay@berkshireeagle.com and 413-496-6233.


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