ATTLEBORO — A Taunton man pleaded innocent Tuesday to charges he forced his way into the home of an acquaintance, stole $70,000 in cash as well as jewelry and marijuana, and then went on a shopping spree.
Richard M. Swanson, 34, was ordered held without bail following his arraignment in Attleboro District Court and faces a dangerousness hearing June 15, according to the clerk’s office..
The charges stem from a Feb. 26 home invasion on Morse Avenue in South Attleboro.
Swanson and another man donned ski masks and forced their way into the alleged victim’s home just after midnight, according to prosecutors.
The 27-year-old resident told police he was threatened with a handgun and told to open his two safes inside a walk-in closet in his bedroom, according to a police report.
The suspects fled with the $70,000 in cash, $30,000 in jewelry and about $5,000 in marijuana they stuffed in a Louis Vuitton bag they grabbed from inside the house, according to the report.
The resident told police he thought the robbers were men he met at a Rhode Island strip club almost a week before the robbery and invited to his home to smoke marijuana.
He said he then learned that photographs of the suspects were on the social media account of a store at the South Shore Plaza in Braintree.
The photographs, which the resident emailed to police a day after the robbery, show the other suspect flashing a large amount of cash while next to Swanson, and both wearing new outfits and sneakers, according to the report.
The resident told police he “recognized the eyes” of Swanson from the photos and thought he recognized his voice, according to the report.
Swanson’s lawyer, Daniel Rich of Norton, questioned the identification and said police lacked enough evidence to charge his client.
“I can tell by his eyes? I suggest that’s not probable cause,” Rich told Judge Edmund Mathers during a hearing.
At this stage of the criminal proceedings, Mathers said he believed police had enough probable cause based on the statements of the alleged victim and the photos of the defendant on social media shortly after the robbery.
Swanson, who police say has a lengthy criminal record, faces charges of armed assault in a dwelling while masked, home invasion and unlawfully carrying a firearm.
Prosecutors are also seeking to revoke his bail on an unrelated Taunton District Court case stemming from a raid at his home.
Police are still investigating the home invasion and say the second suspect has not been arrested.