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PoliceLink's Best Of: Stupid Criminals

Kevin Powers | PoliceLink

Thieves Leave Cell Phone Behind, Police Call


PITTSFIELD, MA – The owner of a building supply store is crediting solid police work for finding the culprits who stole dozens of items from his shop last week.

According to Lee Police, Sean Latura, 42, and Ralph M. O’Connell, 56, both of Pittsfield, were drinking at the Bull’s Eye Pub on Railroad Street on the night of May 21. When they left the bar, they allegedly broke into the nearby Dresser Hull Lumber and Building Supply Co. and stole several items.

Owner Richard Shields said when he arrived at work Friday morning, he found a laptop computer on the ground in the parking lot.

“I saw that and said, ‘Uh oh,’” Shields said. “I knew someone had broken in.”

A cell phone was also found. Officer Todd Briggs determined it belonged to O’Connell by searching the list of contacts stored in the phone.

Later that day, Lenox police made a routine traffic stop. Latura and O’Connell were inside.

Police suspected there were drugs in the vehicle, and summoned a state K-9 unit. Lee police were also called to assist, and when officers arrived and learned who was in the vehicle, the men were questioned.

Some of the stolen items were found in the car, police said, and authorities found the rest of the merchandise at Latura’s home on West Housatonic Street. The men were later arrested.

The date of their next court date was not available on Thursday.

Shields said his business has been broken

into about 10 times in the 40 years he’s been running it. The $2,700 worth of goods the two men allegedly stole was the biggest hit to date.

But within 24 hours of the break-in, police had returned 90 percent of the merchandise to Shields, including power tools, paint brushes, garbage cans and two compressors.

“This was just incredible police work,” he said. “The way they used the cell phone, to the traffic stop, to the communication between the departments, it was great. Everything fell into place.”

[The Berkshire Eagle via YellowBrix]

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