By Julie Manganis
SALEM — A Salem Superior Court judge has rejected a bid by a parolee charged in a pair of frightening armed and masked robberies, finding that police had ample probable cause to conduct the search that led to the discovery of a mask and weapons.
Raymond Wallace, 34, was on parole for a 2001 Waltham burglary and firearms charges when he was arrested in March in connection with the holdup of a Salem PetSmart store on Highland Avenue.
He also was charged later with last December's holdup of the Borders Books and Music on Route 114 in Peabody.
He had donned a rubber mask like the ones worn by characters in last year's bank robbery movie "The Town."
Wallace and his lawyer, Raymond Buso, had contended that police had no legal basis to detain and then arrest Wallace and search the rented car he was driving and the area near where he had parked.
In a decision filed yesterday in Salem Superior Court, Judge David Lowy disagreed, finding that there were similarities between the 2001 case and the more recent incidents.
In addition, the victim in the PetSmart case described Wallace as wearing a green jacket; police conducting surveillance of the apartment complex garage in Salem where he was arrested saw him taking off a green bullet-proof vest; and the judge found that Wallace had no expectation of privacy in that parking garage, where he had allegedly stashed some of the items, including a homemade battering ram.
The judge also credited the testimony of a state parole officer, Mark Barry, who said he had just extended Wallace's curfew after receiving reports that he was out in the middle of the night.
Courts reporter Julie Manganis may be reached at 978-338-2521 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.