North Adams man gets up to 4 years for string of car thefts


PITTSFIELD -- A North Adams man was sentenced to up to four years in state prison on Thursday after admitting to a crime spree last spring that included stealing six vehicles.

Matthew R. Rodriguez and co-defendant Shawn M. Tripodes, both 19, began their spree on April 5, when they smashed the window of Jeep in North Adams and drove off in the vehicle, eventually dumping it in Cheshire.

From there, the pair kept stealing vehicles until they ran out of gas or broke down, according to Berkshire Assistant District Attorney Gregory Barry.

"They pretty much went from car to car," Barry said.

The men also broke into several vehicles and stole items out of them, including a GPS system and several pairs of Oakley sunglasses. They also used stolen credit cards to buy computers and gas in Greenfield, Barry said.

The string of thefts ended on April 9, when they crashed a stolen Toyota Camry in Readsboro, Vt., while being pursued at high speeds by Vermont State Police, according to authorities.

Rodriguez, appearing with his attorney, Richard D. LeBlanc, pleaded guilty in Berkshire Superior Court on Thursday to 19 charges, including multiple counts of larceny of a motor vehicle, wanton destruction of property, larceny and breaking and entering into a vehicle.

Judge John A. Agostini sentenced Rodriguez to serve at least two years and no more than four years in state prison for the crimes in line with a plea deal between the DA's office and LeBlanc.

Prosecutors dismissed charges of common and notorious thief, breaking and entering into a vehicle and larceny over $250.

The defendant has already served close to a year in jail unable to make bail.

Rodriguez is still facing charges in Vermont, Barry said.

Tripodes pleaded to similar charges in August and was given two to four years in state prison.

In December, he pleaded guilty to eluding, driving under the influence of drugs, aggravated operation of a vehicle without the owner's consent and two counts of possessing stolen property in Vermont and received a concurrent 18 months to two years in prison, according to the Brattleboro Reformer.

The investigations were conducted by members of the North Adams, Adams and Cheshire police departments, state troopers from the Cheshire barracks, and state police detectives assigned to the District Attorney's Office.

To reach Andrew Amelinckx:

or (413) 496-6249.

On Twitter: @BE_TheAmelinckx


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