Up to four years for Pittsfield man who stole ATMs

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PITTSFIELD — A man behind a string of burglaries, including the theft of four ATMs, has been sentenced to up to four years in prison.

Christopher Vandesteene, 37, admitted to drug charges and a dozen other counts on Tuesday in connection with the break-ins, committed mostly in August and September 2017.

He told police he needed the money to pay an outstanding debt to a drug dealer. The first incident came in January 2017, when Vandesteene broke into American Detailing in Pittsfield.

On Aug. 4, Vandesteene broke into O'Brien's Market in Lenox, stealing an ATM from inside. That was followed by a break-in and burglary of the American Legion Post in Pittsfield on Aug. 20, during which a safe and ATM were stolen. He also stole an ATM from Becket General Store during a Sept. 3 break-in.

He stole petty cash from O'Laughlin's Pub on Sept. 11, and then broke into an Angelina's Sub Shop in Pittsfield on Sept. 15 and stole its ATM.

Vandesteene, along with Nicholas Y. Beauchamp, were arrested Sept. 28 on drug charges in connection with drug dealing activity on John Street.

Vandesteene was carrying what appeared to be a drug ledger. Nearby, police found a bundle of 10 bags of heroin stamped with the words "Day off."

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During police interviews, both men admitted to participating in the break-ins.

The pair took the ATMs to October Mountain State Forest, where they broke them open and removed the cash, according to prosecutors. The machines contained as much as $2,200 in one case and as little as $60 in another.

Information given to police led them to a shed on property where Vandesteene had been living. Inside that shed, police found the stolen safe and other evidence related to the larcenies.

Beauchamp pleaded guilty to similar charges in July and was sentenced to up to four years in prison.

In all, Vandesteene pleaded guilty in Berkshire Superior Court to six counts each of breaking and entering in the nighttime with the intent to commit a felony and larceny from a building and one count each of possession of heroin with intent to distribute.

Judge John Agostini sentenced him to 2 1/2 to 4 years in prison based on an agreed-upon sentencing recommendation between Assistant District Attorney Joseph Yorlano and defense attorney Joanna Arkema.

Vandesteene was given credit of 681 days of time already served in custody. He will serve the remainder of his time at the Massachusetts Correctional Institution at Cedar Junction.

Bob Dunn can be reached at bdunn@berkshireeagle.com, at @BobDunn413 on Twitter and 413-496-6249.


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