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Downtown pub burglarized

GREENFIELD — The People’s Pint on Federal Street was broken into early Friday, and its safe stolen.

“We’re more sad than angry,” said Beth Fraser, general manager of the brewpub. “All of the donations we’ve collected for Franklin County Community Meals were in that safe.”

The business started taking donations around Thanksgiving, and Fraser said the Pint is usually the second largest contributor to the charity during the holidays.

The theft occurred between the Pint’s midnight closing, and about 7 a.m. Friday, when workers arrived to prepare for the day. Owner Alden Booth came quickly when he heard of the break-in.

“It’s a heartbreaker on a whole lot of different levels,” said Booth. “It’s like someone is stealing from the entire community.”

In addition to the donations, the safe contained cash and checks from “a couple nights’ business,” said Booth, though he declined to give an exact figure.

Greenfield Police Sgt. Mark Williams said the burglary is under investigation.

“Our detective went to try to get fingerprints from the back door. I haven’t heard whether he was able to get any,” said Williams Friday afternoon.

Booth said the business has no alarm, so nobody was aware of the robbery until his employees showed up early in the morning.

They found the jamb and molding for that back door chewed up and scarred with fresh marks, where thieves pried it open to gain access.

“You can tell they used a crowbar,” said Booth.

The safe wasn’t as easily opened.

“Only three people even know where the key is,” said Fraser.

She said the safe is about 2 feet cubed, and made of heavy cast iron, weighing more than she can lift.

Police said it’s possible that there was more than one burglar Friday morning.

Williams said police were reviewing footage from nearby outdoor security cameras Friday afternoon.

Several businesses in Greenfield and Turners Falls were broken into and burglarized during the summer and fall, often several in a single night. That wasn’t the case Friday.

“I was expecting to receive more calls (about break-ins), but we didn’t, said Williams.

Booth isn’t taking the theft personally, and he doesn’t think the thieves are necessarily bad people.

“It’s got me thinking; so many people are so in need, and they must be desperate to do something like this,” said Booth. “There are a lot of people in our community who aren’t having their needs met.”

He attributes the desperation to the struggling economy, a high unemployment rate, and a federal government with questionable priorities.

“You look at the big picture, and think about where our (tax) money goes,” said Booth. “It goes to the Pentagon and the drug companies.”

That money could be better spent helping those in need, rather than fueling foreign wars, said Booth.

Fraser found it ironic that some desperate soul made off with the money the Pint would soon donate to charity.

“I wonder if the person who stole the money would’ve benefitted from the program,” she said.

Fraser said the thieves made off with the takings of a normal Thursday night’s business at the Pint.

“It wasn’t a blow-the-doors-off kind of night, just average,” said Fraser. “The loss was terrible for the business, but it’s not going to close our doors.”

There was likely a bit less cash there than most Thursday nights in the Pint’s 15 years. Until about Thanksgiving, the business solely accepted cash and checks as payment, but now accepts credit cards, and people have started to take advantage of it.

The People’s Pint will try to recoup the lost donations this weekend with the help of its customers. Friday afternoon, Fraser was working on a flier to include with the specials menu, explaining the theft and asking for help.

Booth said he’s learned from the theft.

“I don’t know if we’ll get an alarm. Sometimes they’re more trouble than they’re worth. You get called down every time a mouse sets it off,” he said. “But we’ll definitely fix the door, and beef up the lock. And the safe should have been bolted down in the first place. There’s a lot of ‘could’ves’ and ‘should’ves’ right now. But this type of thing shouldn’t happen in Greenfield.”

Anyone with information on the burglary may contact Greenfield Police, at 413 773-5411,

David Rainville can be reached at:
drainville@recorder.com
or 413-772-0261, ext. 279

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