Andover man arrested for North Reading doughnut shop robbery claims to be Afghan veteran addicted to painkillers

WOBURN — The man arrested for allegedly robbing a North Reading doughnut shop at knifepoint on Sunday was described in a police report as a military veteran who injured his back serving in the Afghanistan war and is now addicted to painkillers.

Michael Quinlan was arraigned today in Woburn District Court, where he pleaded not guilty to armed robbery while masked and assault with a dangerous weapon.

He was ordered held without bail pending a dangerousness hearing requested by Middlesex District Attorney Marian T. Ryan’s office. Quinlan, 25, and his attorney, John Burke, did not seek bail.

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Quinlan was kept out of public view at Burke’s request by District Court Judge Marianne Hinkle, who ordered Quinlan to remain in custody until the dangerousness hearing.

North Reading police said Sunday in a statement they were trying to determine if Quinlan was connected to any of the 22 robberies of Dunkin’ Donuts restaurants in Massachusetts since March. That issue was not mentioned during the arraignment.

But Canton Police Detective Sergeant James Quigley said he doubted Quinlan is responsible.

“On the face of it, I don’t think so,” he said. “But we don’t rule anything out.” Canton is one of the towns where the 22 robberies have occurred, and police there have been involved in a multi-jurisdictional effort to find the culprit.

In a police report filed today in court, North Reading police said workers at Heavenly Donuts on Main Street told them that a man wearing a grey hooded sweatshirt with a white T-shirt draped across the lower part of his face entered the store around 4:23 a.m. Sunday.

Armed with a brown-handled steak knife, he jumped behind the counter, police said.

The man told the employee to “open the register, nobody gets hurt.’’ The man ordered the employee to remove the cash and hand it to him, which the employee did, police said.

At the same time, a second worker who had been in another part of the store saw what was happening and dialed 911, police said. The armed robber saw the second employee and ran out of the store, pursued by an employee who had armed himself with a broom, police said.

The suspect ran to a nearby Papa Gino’s restaurant and tried to hide in the bushes, but was spotted by the employee who continued to approach him, armed with the broom. The suspect bolted from the bushes and ran across Main Street where he got into a car parked in the lot of Reading Lumber, police said.

At that point, North Reading police arrived and arrested Quinlan in the parked car, police said. Inside the car, police found $183 in cash. The police report stated that the employee said $185 had been stolen.

According to authorities, Quinlan agreed to be interviewed by police following his arrest. He told police he was a military veteran who suffered a back injury while serving in Afghanistan and had become addicted to prescription painkillers, the police report stated.

He said he was studying for midterm exams at an unidentified college and had also been drinking heavily in the hours before the robbery took place, according to the report. Quinlan also told police he argued with his girlfriend on the telephone and then went for a drive when he could not sleep.

Quinlan, an Andover resident, said he ended up parking across the street from the doughnut shop, and allegedly robbed it because “he has no money.’’ Quinlan told police he “felt bad for the worker’’ and had no idea how much money he stole from the store.