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Peter G. Jeffs of Amherst said ‘person of interest’ in area break-ins

An Amherst man arrested at his home Thursday is considered a “person of interest” in a series of break-ins at homes in several Hampshire County communities, said Easthampton Police Det. Sgt. Mark Popielarczyk.

Amherst Police assisted Southwick Police with the arrest of Peter G. Jeffs, 51, of 463 Bay Road, Amherst, at his home Thursday at 12:34 p.m. on charges of breaking and entering, larceny over $250 and vandalism. Jeffs denied the charges in Westfield District Court Friday and was released on $2,000 personal surety.

Popielarczyk said he could not elaborate about why police think Jeffs may be tied to break-ins in Easthampton, Southampton, Northampton, Amherst and other communities because the investigation is still under way.

Lt. Ronald Young, head of the Amherst police detective bureau, said Amherst may file charges as well, but hasn’t yet.

“The investigation involves multiple jurisdictions, several different agencies are involved, and we’re coordinating with the Northwestern district attorney’s office as to how this investigation continues,” Young said.

According to a press release from Southwick Police, they received a report Thursday morning of a burglary in progress at 268 Feeding Hills Road. A vehicle fled the scene but witnesses gave police a vehicle make and license plate number, which was shared with area departments and led to Amherst Police stopping Jeffs’ van.

Popielarczyk said several area home burglaries in the last few weeks may be related. In three break-ins in Easthampton and Southampton, the perpetrator kicked in doors before grabbing televisions and laptops and fleeing quickly. “There does seem to be a pattern of similar incidents,” Popielarczyk said. “The method of entry is similar.”

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