Missing Pittsfield teen found in Ariz.; alleged predator held on multiple counts
PITTSFIELD -- A teenager who police said was lured away from his city home by a child predator from Arizona will be returning to Massachusetts soon, possibly today.
Zackary Lawrence, 14, was located in Chandler, Ariz., with the assistance and cooperation of the Berkshire County Law Enforcement Task Force, the FBI, and the Chandler Police Department, according to the Pittsfield Police.
The man who allegedly persuaded Zackary to come live with him was arrested Wednesday afternoon on numerous criminal charges.
Bradley Cooper, 47, of Chandler, in Maricopa County, allegedly met Zackary online and convinced him to run away and join him in that city.
A Maricopa County Sheriff's Office report states Cooper posed as a 16-year-old, calling himself Trent Thompson, and arranged to meet Zackary in Pittsfield.
After two days of driving, Cooper picked up Zackary near his home on Francis Avenue, and headed back across the country, making stops in New York, Indiana and Oklahoma before reaching Cooper's residence in Chandler on Monday.
Zackary was last seen near his home on the evening of Friday, June 6; he was reported missing to Pittsfield Police on Tuesday.
The report also references a phone call Cooper made to Lawrence's mother in which he again posed as 16-year-old Trent Thompson in an effort to convince her to allow Lawrence to move to Chandler with him.
Cooper allegedly admitted to similar conduct with other boys in the past, including a teen in Alabama.
Cooper is facing a total of 22 criminal charges and is being held without bail.
As of now, it's "undetermined" whether Cooper will be facing any charges in Massachusetts, according to Pittsfield Police Detective Capt. Patrick F. Barry.
"It's still early in the investigation [here]," he said.
Federal charges "are likely," Barry said, but none of have been filed as yet.
The Pittsfield Police Department thanked the state and federal agencies involved in the case and others who shared information contributing to Zackary's return.
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