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Data from electronic monitoring tracking device used to tie Berkshire County family to more than 100 break-ins statewide



Sunday, January 18, 2015
Mapping location data revealed by a suspect’s court-ordered electronic monitoring tracking device allowed police to connect him and three relatives to more than 100 break-ins across the state, including several in five Hampshire County communities.

Police arrested James D. Tarjick Jr., 42, of Becket, and his parents, James D. Tarjick Sr., 61, and Nancy A. Tarjick, 60, of Windsor, on Wednesday after raiding their properties in Berkshire County and finding items that were reported stolen. They were arraigned on related charges Thursday in Central Berkshire District Court, and will also face charges in Hampshire County in connection with break-ins in Amherst, Easthampton, Hadley, Hatfield and Northampton.

According to Hadley Police Officer Mitchell Kuc and Eastern Hampshire District Court documents filed Friday by Amherst Detective Christina B. Knightly, Aaron Tarjick was wearing the tracking device as a condition of pre-trial probation while he and his brother, James “Jamie” Tarjick Jr., committed over 100 break-ins between 2010 and 2012. Aaron Tarjick is in prison on unrelated charges.

Kuc said that after hearing from Amherst Police that Aaron Tarjick was suspected in break-ins there and wore a tracking device, Hadley police overlaid on a map data from his tracking device and cell phone records for both brothers. That revealed that the brothers were at the sites of roughly 12 residential, commercial and vehicle breaks in Hadley, Kuc said.

Court documents show that Amherst police used the same technique to determine that the brothers were at four homes at the times they were broken into during 2012. Knightly wrote in court documents that the electronic monitoring tracking data is accurate to within one or two feet, so detectives could see that Aaron Tarjick was inside the homes, while the cell phone records of Tarjick Jr. showed he was there or nearby.

“I would say it’s less common that people do house breaks with court-ordered electronic monitoring devices,” Kuc said Friday. He said the process of comparing the GPS data with records of the roughly 150 and 200 break-ins in town between 2010 and 2012 was “quite the exhausting task.” That period is from when Aaron Tarjick started wearing the tracking device to when he went to state prison, Kuc said.

He said Hadley Police expect to file charges against both Tarjick brothers.

The Amherst homes were broken into through smashed windows or doors that were pried open on March 29, 2012, and April 6 and 20, 2012. Among the items reported missing were jewelry valued at over $10,000, a clothes dryer, a big screen television, laptops, kitchen appliances and collectibles such as rare baseball cards.

Amherst Police have filed charges against Tarjick Jr. of four counts of breaking and entering in the night to commit a felony, three counts of larceny over $250, and being a common and notorious criminal. Court records show that the latter charge is due to his three prior convictions of larceny from a building. No date for his arraignment has been set.

According to a press release from the Northwestern district attorney’s office, the investigation was coordinated by the Northwestern and Berkshire district attorneys’ offices and involved police from the communities where the breaks occurred, as well as the Berkshire County Sheriff’s Department and State Police detectives.

On Wednesday, police from multiple departments raided the properties of Tarjick Jr. and his parents, who allegedly stored many of the stolen items. All three were arrested.

The Northwestern district attorney’s office in a prepared statement said that “a large quantity” of items believed to be stolen were recovered during the arrest of Tarjick Jr.

The Berkshire district attorney’s office said in a prepared statement that police expect to file additional charges in connection with the break-ins as the investigation progresses. Northampton Police said they could not discuss the case because it is considered under investigation until charges are filed. Amherst and Easthampton police referred comment to the Northwestern district attorney’s office, and Hatfield Police did not return a message seeking comment Friday.

At his arraignment in Central Berkshire District Court on Thursday, Tarjick Jr. was ordered held at the Berkshire County House of Correction on $10,000 bail or $100,000 personal surety. He pleaded not guilty to seven counts of receiving stolen property over $250 and one count of being a common receiver of stolen goods, according to a statement from the Berkshire district attorney’s office.

Nancy and James Tarjick pleaded not guilty to seven counts each of receiving stolen property over $250 and one count each of receiving stolen property under $250. They were released on personal recognizance, according to the Berkshire district attorney’s office.

All three are due back in court Feb. 11. Attempts to reach their attorneys Friday were unsuccessful. The Berkshire Eagle reported that the attorneys for Nancy and James Tarjick Sr. said they had no knowledge of any thefts and their home was just a “dumping ground.” Glenn W. Keiderling Jr., the lawyer for Tarjick Jr., questioned the evidence gathered by police against his client, according to the Eagle.

Kuc said that the lengthy investigation is not over. He has yet to see all the items recovered from the Tarjicks’ properties to compare them to the long list of items taken from the Hadley homes.

He credited Amherst Police with sharing with him what they had learned about Aaron and James Tarjick Jr. and the tracking device. “The detectives in Amherst really did a great job,” Kuc said.

Rebecca Everett can be reached at reverett@gazettenet.com.