PEABODY — A man suspected in a series of holdups around the North Shore over a two-week period was ordered held yesterday on $100,000 cash bail.
Dennis Porter, 43, pleaded not guilty to an armed robbery charge stemming from a holdup at Town Variety on Central Street in Peabody on Sunday night.
Police say Porter was driven to the store by a second suspect, Glenn Roderick, then went inside and handed the clerk a losing lottery ticket he claimed was a winner. When the clerk opened the drawer, he brandished a gun and demanded the contents of the lottery machine, according to police.
Police in Danvers, Beverly and Salem have also linked Porter to holdups in those communities.
Besides Sunday night’s holdup, police suspect Porter in a holdup at the Sunoco gas station on Brimbal Avenue in Beverly on Monday night and at Pet Life on Route 114 in Danvers on Tuesday night, as well as a holdup at the 7-Eleven on Norman Street in Salem on Nov. 16.
And Porter is no stranger to the legal system, with a record dating back to 1987 that includes, most recently, a five-year stint in state prison for armed robbery in 2005, prosecutor Nat Sears told a Peabody District Court judge yesterday. In March 2005, he was charged with holding up a Li’l Peach on Essex Street in Beverly.
Porter was still on probation in that case when he was arrested, on a warrant issued by the Essex Superior Court probation department, which was supervising him.
“You have a career criminal here with no place to live,” said Sears, who described how Porter, of Lynn, had apparently been living in a tent set up in a wooded area behind the median between routes 128 and 114, behind Chandler’s Ice Cream.
Porter was eventually caught in a trailer on Route 1, where he tried to escape through a bathroom window before police forced their way in and immobilized him with a stun gun, Sears said.