Saugus Dunkin’ Donuts shop robbed, but suspect not believed to be responsible for previous heists

A Melrose man was arrested early this morning after allegedly robbing a Dunkin’ Donuts shop in Saugus and making off with $27, police said. But police said they didn’t think he was responsible for a string of other Dunkin’ Donuts robberies in the state in recent months.

Police received a call at 1:58 a.m. reporting a robbery at the Dunkin’ Donuts store at 1204 Broadway on the northbound side of Route 1, said Saugus Police Chief Domenic DiMella.

Witnesses told police that the suspect, Vyacheslav Phinney, entered the main door of the shop brandishing a knife, jumped over the counter, and grabbed money from the register before fleeing the store.

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“There was a witness that saw him cross into a street and try and get into a car. Then he decided not to get into the car,” DiMella said. “He ran towards a Walgreens and then went into a wooded area.”

A State Police K-9 unit was called to assist in the investigation, and police found and arrested Phinney less than a half-mile away near Essex Street at about 2:45 a.m.

No injuries were reported.

The robbery comes after nearly two dozen Dunkin’ Donuts shops were robbed in the region since March. There are a number of similarities amongst those robberies, though police have officially connected only five. In every case, the suspect has brandished a gun or a knife, and he has frequently worn dark clothing.

Phinney was wearing dark clothing during the robbery and had a knife, but police said they did not believe they had caught the suspect from the previous robberies.

“We believe this is an isolated incident, but it’s under investigation,” DiMella said. “We have forwarded the information to other [police] agencies” in the communities where shops were robbed.

Phinney was arraigned today on charges of armed robbery and assault with a dangerous weapon. A not-guilty plea was entered on his behalf in Lynn District Court. He was held without bail pending a dangerousness hearing next Thursday.

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