PITTSFIELD -- A North Adams man accused in a Thursday break-in that was interrupted by the homeowner has been tied to at least one similar incident in the southeast section of the city, police said on Friday.
James Mullen, 22, of Brooklyn Street, had his bail pulled on an open case by Judge Fredric D. Rutberg, who said the defendant presented a risk to the public because of his "out of control" heroin addiction. He is being held without bail for up to 60 days after pleading not guilty to two felonies and four misdemeanors on Friday in Central Berkshire District Court.
In the past few weeks, police say there have been at least five other daytime break-ins reported in the southeast section of Pittsfield in which high-value jewelry and electronics were taken.
Pittsfield Police are investigating whether Mullen is connected to more of the recent incidents and whether he may have had an accomplice. Detective Capt. Patrick F. Barry on Friday said there "absolutely" will be more charges coming against Mullen.
City police said they found 10 to 15 gold rings inside a green Jeep Grand Cherokee, which is tied to Mullen, that was found near the scene of Thursday's break-in.
Mullen was allegedly in the process of burglarizing a Warwick Street home Thursday afternoon when the homeowner came home and discovered someone inside, police said. He fled through a back door, police said, and was arrested about 21 2 hours later while wandering the same neighborhood, where another burglary also was reported.
Mullen allegedly told the police he was looking for his pet dog and lied about his identity twice. He later admitted he was with someone else who actually broke into the homes while he stayed outside, police said.
On Friday, Assistant Berkshire District Attorney Megan Tesoniero told the court that Mullen had a criminal history that included larcenies and drug charges and that he continues to commit crimes.
"We're not sure what else this defendant will do to support his drug habit," the prosecutor told the court.
Mullen appeared ill, was doubled-over, coughed uncontrollably and had a hard time standing during the arraignment.
According to a state police report from December, Mullen is a known heroin user who had overdosed twice that the police know of.
His attorney, Dean R. Manuel, said his client wasn't seen or found in the house and although he had a record, none of his prior charges were for violent offenses.
Besides the charges for the alleged burglary, Mullen was arraigned on a drug charge related to a December case brought by the state police. They say when he was picked up on a warrant they discovered drug paraphernalia and Suboxone residue on a spoon. Mullen allegedly admitted shooting up the drug and that he did not have a prescription for it.
He also has an open case out of North Adams on a charge of receiving stolen property allegedly related to an August break-in on Beacon Street. Police say Mullen got a neighbor to sell stolen jewelry taken in the burglary and was in possession of a stolen television and computer.
Mullen pleaded not guilty to single counts of breaking and entering in the daytime for a felony, misleading a police officer, giving a false name an possession of a Class B substance.
He can be held for up to 60 days without bail at the Berkshire County Jail & House of Correction. After that time, he'll have to come up with $4,000 in bail money to get out. He is due back in court next month.
Lenox police are also looking into whether a burglary on Sunset Avenue in Lenox in which thousands of dollars in electronics was stolen may be related to the crimes in Pittsfield.