Man charged with armed robbery of 4 Pittsfield businesses in 10 days
PITTSFIELD — "You remember last time?"
That's what 35-year-old Jameail C. Beckett allegedly told a clerk at Angelina's Sub Shop on West Housatonic Friday night as he held a gun to the worker's face and demanded cash out of the register.
The same clerk was on duty the night Beckett allegedly robbed a different Angelina's shop nine days earlier.
In all, Beckett is a suspect in four armed robberies committed in Pittsfield between Dec. 18 and 28.
He is being held without bail pending a dangerousness hearing scheduled for later this week.
Meanwhile, 37-year-old Ivelisse Ruusukallio, also of Pittsfield, is being held without bail, pending a Jan. 28 hearing for violating her probation conditions by allegedly acting as an accomplice of Beckett's in the fourth robbery.
Ruusukallio was on probation for participating in the larceny of a Salvation Army donation bucket, again from an Angelina's shop, earlier this year, according to Assistant Berkshire District Attorney Andrew Giarolo.
Her case was continued without a finding for three months with the condition she remain out of further legal trouble during that period, according to the Probation Department.
Her attorney, Dean Manuel, argued against detention and cash bail, saying that conditions such as GPS monitoring and reporting to probation twice weekly would be enough to ensure a return to court.
Judge Paul Smyth adopted the state's recommendation, noting her prior failures to appear in court and her prior record.
Police have been investigating three robberies committed between Dec. 18 and 27 in which victims reported a male between 5-foot-4 and 5-foot-9 wearing a mask entered the business, brandished a handgun and demanded cash.
In one case, the suspect was described as wearing a trenchcoat, wig, hooded sweatshirt and sunglasses. In the other two, the suspect was described as wearing a ski mask.
Police said they received several tips during their investigation that identified a man they knew as "Gunz" as responsible for the robberies. According to police, "Gunz," is a known alias for Beckett.
On Dec. 28, at about 9:10 p.m., police responded to Big Y Express on West Street for a report of a suspicious male who had entered the store, wearing a mask, but left after being "spooked off," according to court files.
Police culled an image of the suspect from surveillance footage and issued an alert.
Less than 30 minutes later, the Angelina's Sub Shop on West Housatonic Street was reportedly robbed by a masked male wearing a hooded sweatshirt and brandishing a gun, before fleeing east.
Minutes later, according to Giarolo, police in the area spotted Ruusukallio and Beckett walking on Worthington Street, about 500 feet from the robbery.
When police searched Ruusukallio's purse, they found a wad of bills inside, all in $1 and $5 denominations.
The $107 stolen from Angelina's was in those denominations, according to police.
The employee later said Beckett was the same height as the man who robbed her, but the clothes he was wearing were different.
A police search dog picked up a trail from Angelina's to South Church Street where police had detained the pair.
Other witnesses told police they saw a man and woman running from West Housatonic Street and that the woman was wearing a backpack.
Ruusukallio was wearing a backpack when police stopped her and Beckett.
The following morning, police searching the area found a single $5 bill, a silver revolver-style BB gun and clothing matching that worn by the suspect in the Big Y Express surveillance video.
According to police, Beckett admitted to four armed robberies, including the two at the sub shops, and was able to provide details about each of them.
Beckett is suspected of robbing the North Street Family Dollar store Dec. 18, the Wahconah Street Angelina's Dec. 19, the Alltown Market on Tyler Street Dec. 27 and the West Housatonic Angelina's Dec. 28.
The total allegedly stolen from the four locations is $1,039.96, according to police records.
Beckett has pleaded not guilty to four counts of armed and masked robbery. He is due back in court Friday for his dangerousness hearing.
Ruusukallio has pleaded not guilty to one count of armed and masked robbery as she is only accused of participating in the most recent of the four.
Based on the charges, the cases will likely be submitted to a grand jury for consideration to transfer into Berkshire Superior Court.
Bob Dunn can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, at @BobDunn413 on Twitter and 413-496-6249.
TALK TO US
If you'd like to leave a comment (or a tip or a question) about this story with the editors, please email us. We also welcome letters to the editor for publication; you can do that by filling out our letters form and submitting it to the newsroom.