New chief, stolen leather, Bulger moved

Answering the headlines:

New Stockbridge police chief
From the eyes of an outside observer, it would appear that the selection committee did a first-rate job.

There are always well-meaning people who will push for selection of a local. Arguments can be made on both sides.

A professional, chosen from outside, is less likely to play favorites or to pay off old debts, even inadvertently. On the other hand, a local person might be more sensitive to town problems or local characters with special needs.

The chosen candidate (pending the usual personnel checks) is Robert Eaton, a captain on the Smithfield, R.I., police force and a recent graduate of the FBI Academy. He will have big shoes to fill. Retiring Stockbridge Chief Rick Wilcox has always been my favorite law enforcement person in the Berkshires. Everyone knows him, respects and honors him.

Frankly, I can’t imagine the town of Stockbridge without him. I have seen him provide security for James and Kim Taylor, and he has always seemed at ease and non-intrusive. He isn’t authoritarian, but is still clearly in charge. He is truly a great man.

$500,000 in leather stolen from outlet mall: This was obviously a planned job. Usually, someone wanders into a store or a business, cases the place and then comes back to rob it.

Some years back, we had a very good friend whose fur store was robbed and it was quite clear that their store had been staked out.

Police believe that, in this case, the gang goes from state to state committing these crimes. And it’s not just businesses that are being robbed. You have no idea how many people in the Berkshires leave their houses unlocked or their keys in their cars. There are really some degenerate people out there.

I have a very good friend who argues about this stuff with me all the time. She tells me that she has lived in the Berkshires for over 40 years and no one has ever robbed her house or her car. I tell her that it only takes once. When I lived in New York, my apartment was robbed twice and the sense of violation is unimaginable. Back then, the police would show up and tell you how to fill out a crime report for insurance purposes, if you had insurance. I didn’t.

If you are reading this and your keys are in an unlocked car in your driveway, take warning.

Of course, we now have previously unimagined technological home protection devices. After an unfortunate incident at our home, we had television monitors installed. We can see our house and grounds from several angles, even when we are abroad. Naturally, not everybody is going to go for this level of security and this can cause some limited marital discord.

Whitey Bulger moved to Brooklyn lockup: Anyone who knows anything knows that Brooklyn is the new hot spot. Brooklyn is where the hipsters live and I could give you the names of a whole lot of Berkshireites whose children have moved to the borough that was once shunned as a place to be moved out of.

But every place has its time and now it’s Brooklyn. The Bronx is still waiting for its chance. Manhattan is unaffordable and has too often lost the sense of neighborhoods that characterized the New York City hub when I grew up there.

So, with that in mind, the Federal Bureau of Prisons has moved octogenarian James “Whitey” Bulger to Brooklyn until they move him to maybe North Dakota or Montana or Florida. After all, there is one thing we know about this guy — he has always had friends in high places.

Originally published in the Berkshire Eagle, 12/02/13

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