Campus laptop thief receives probation

Joseph Pini, 36, a resident of North Adams was given a probation sentence at the Berkshire Superior Court on Oct. 24, according to an article in The Berkshire Eagle (“North Adams man gets probation in Williams College computer thefts,” Oct. 25). He pled guilty to 32 charges, including the laptop thefts that occurred at the College in the spring of 2012.

Pini was behind the break-ins that occurred both in dorm rooms at the College, as well as a break-in at a software company in Williamstown. He intended to sell the stolen laptops. According to The Berkshire Eagle, he also has a criminal history dating back to his youth. Pini’s accomplices, Richard C. Jones III, 28, and Lance C. Latimer, 33, both of North Adams, as well as Michael J. Mitchell, 36, of Williamstown, also face charges related to the thefts.

According to Assistant Berkshire District Attorney Joseph Yorlano, Jones broke into the dorms while his accomplice, Pini, waited outside acting as the lookout and driver.

Students at the College assisted in the arrest of Jones last March by Williamstown Police Department (WPD) after residents of Dodd House called Campus Safety and Security about a suspicious person. Security officers stopped Jones on the third floor of Dodd House, where he quickly presented a variety of stolen laptops and an iPhone. Jones allegedly entered the building via a basement window (“Student call leads to arrest,” March 14,).

Yorlano, as well as Pini’s attorney, asked that he be sentenced to a two-year, seven-month suspended jail sentence with three years of probation. Judge John A. Agostini sentenced Pini accordingly.

In light of break-ins such as those occurring at the College, Director of Security Dave Boyer said, “I hope this serves as a reminder that crime is just an opportunity away.”

Boyer hopes that this will remind students that the best way to remain safe and keep possessions secure is to be vigilant and make smart decisions about locking doors and keeping an eye on personal belongings. “We always talk about the victimization triangle,” Boyer said. “You need three elements for a crime to occur: the perpetrator, the victim and the opportunity. The only thing we can control is the opportunity. Keeping our dorms secure, our rooms secure, our bicycles locked – those are the best ways we can limit these opportunities.” Boyer noted that the thefts that Pini and his accomplices were responsible for were only possible because students had left their doors unlocked. According to Boyer, the criminals had broken into dorms and then walked around the halls looking for unlocked rooms. “This is just a good example that the outer doors of our dorms aren’t always the fortress we want them to be. We have to have internal security as well,” Boyer said.

Boyer has been pleased with the success of students reporting suspicious behavior. “We have had some great successes with students recognizing suspicious behaviors and contacting us, so we have been able to remove some people from campus who might otherwise have caused problems. … We’d rather be proactive than reactive,” Boyer noted.