North Adams man charged with 2 armed robberies held without bail

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NORTH ADAMS — A North Adams man is being held without bail in connection with a pair of armed robberies over the weekend and a pursuit that ended with him being tackled by police.

Richard Sifton, 37, pleaded not guilty to multiple charges during his arraignment Monday in Northern Berkshire District Court.

According to court documents, Sifton entered Dave's Package Store at the corner of Church and River streets about 9 p.m. Saturday and asked for change of a $100 bill. As soon as the clerk took the bill, he saw that it was a fake, at which point the suspect allegedly brandished a knife and grabbed the five $20 bills from the counter and fled the store.

Responding officers recognized the suspect as Sifton from "dealing with him on multiple occasions," according to the report.

About 4:30 a.m., a clerk at the Dunkin' store at the corner of Church and Union streets reported a similar incident. A man came in and asked for change for a $100 bill, but the clerk said she doesn't have access to the safe.

The man allegedly indicated that he had a knife, so the clerk offered up the cash box under the register, from which he removed a little over $100 and fled.

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"I was very frightened during the incident and was in fear for my life," the clerk told police.

Police spotted Sifton about two hours later in the area behind Dave's Package Store, and Officer Kevin Fitzpatrick gave chase after he ignored calls to stop and surrender, according to the report. Fitzpatrick caught up and grabbed Sifton, and both fell to the ground.

Officers Trevor Manning and Ivan Cardeno arrived to assist as Fitzpatrick was trying to handcuff Sifton, who was continuing to struggle.

Fitzpatrick suffered damage to his eardrum when a branch snapped back and struck him on the side of the head during the pursuit. He has temporarily lost the hearing in his ear and has been given eight days' medical leave.

Attorney Michelle Mechta entered pleas of not guilty on Sifton's behalf to two counts each of armed robbery and larceny under $1,200, and one count each of resisting arrest and uttering a counterfeit note. A dangerousness hearing was set for Oct. 28.

Mechta did not return a message seeking comment on the case.

Scott Stafford can be reached at sstafford@berkshireeagle.com or 413-629-4517.


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