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Man faces 27 charges for Amherst car break-ins last year

NORTHAMPTON — A Springfield man who police allege broke into 13 vehicles parked at conservation and recreation areas in Amherst over several months last year and made off with “thousands of dollars” of goods pleaded not guilty Wednesday to 27 charges resulting from the incidents.

Jose Laboy, 41, of Springfield, denied the charges before Hampshire Superior Court Judge Bertha Josephson who ordered him held without bail and set a July 29 pretrial conference.

Amherst Police arrested Laboy on Sept. 4 following a rash of break-ins to vehicles parked at Amherst conservation and recreation areas throughout last summer.

Amherst Detective David Foster said police investigated far more than 13 vehicle break-ins last summer, and noted that his department is pleased to report a “huge decrease” in similar incidents at Puffer’s Pond and other recreation areas since Laboy’s arrest.

“It was happening many more times than that,” he said. “We’re very happy for the community. We want the community to feel safe.”

First Assistant Northwestern District Attorney Steven E. Gagne brought forward a complaint Wednesday detailing the charges against Laboy for incidents that began in June 2013 and continued to early September.

The charges are 13 counts of breaking and entering a vehicle in the daytime with the intent to commit a felony; seven counts of larceny of property over $250; five counts of larceny under $250; one count of larceny of a credit card; and one count of receiving stolen property over $250.

The combined value of the items stolen is unclear, but “suffice it to say he is alleged to have stolen thousands of dollars worth of personal property, including but not limited to laptops, GPS devices and other electronics,” Gagne said in an email.

Other items stolen included purses, wallets, credit cards, clothing and almost anything left in plain sight, Gagne said. He said only a few items were recovered.

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