A Sandy man suspected of being the "Top Gun bandit" appeared Thursday morning in the Salt Lake County sheriff's office for a lineup viewed by nearly all the witnesses in a string of robberies last month.
Dennis M. Stoker, 42, was charged Tuesday with aggravated robbery in connection with the holdup of an ice cream store. That robbery was similar to 13 other holdups committed during November.Detectives and prosecutors would not comment Thursday morning on the outcome of the lineup but were meeting to discuss whether to arrest Stoker.
Shortly after filing a complaint Tuesday against Stoker, sheriff's detectives began to have serious reservations about whether Stoker was the right man. A search of Stoker's house revealed no incriminating evidence. Detectives asked local media not to divulge the man's name until further investigation.
Stoker is accused of robbing the Baskin Robbins, 2424 E. 70th South, on Nov. 14. Two employees identified Stoker from a photo spread as the man who robbed them. The bandit was wearing a blue corduroy baseball cap with the words "Top Gun" on its front.
On Wednesday, the employees were beginning to express some doubts, saying they might have recognized Stoker in the photo spreads because he works in the same area as the ice cream store.
Defense attorney Brad Rich said Wednesday, however, that his client is a "middle-of-the-road guy who's never done anything wrong in his life."
"This is the kind of case a defense attorney dreams of," Rich said, adding that Stoker has some excellent alibis.
Stoker has been fully cooperative, detective Jim Glover said. "He told me that he admits he looks like Top Gun."
The detective said the suspect even has a car that matches a car used in one of the robberies.
Stoker also gets off work at 3 p.m. All of the robberies have been committed between 3 and 5 p.m.
The Top Gun bandit has been described as heavy-set, between 45 and 50, about 200 pounds, with graying hair, blue eyes and a pot belly.