Robber pleads guilty to several felonies Another Yorker pleads in a separate case where he dragged a state agent with a car — (York Daily Record)

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York Daily Record (PA)

May 9, 2001

Author: DEAN WISE Daily Record staff -LEAD

Armed robberies at eight convenience stores within a 16-day period last fall netted Joseph David Potter, 27, of the 300 block of East Princess Street, York, just under $1,000.

Monday, Potter pleaded guilty to as many counts of the first-degree felony as part of a plea-bargain. He received five to 10 years in state prison with credit for the six months that he sat in the county jail awaiting disposition of no fewer than 10 criminal cases.

Common Pleas Judge Sheryl Ann Dorney directed Potter to repay the $980 in cash that he stole. During the robberies, he either pointed one of two stolen guns at the clerks or displayed the weapons in his waistband and threatened to use them if they did not cooperate and meet his demands for cash.

In addition to the robberies, Potter entered pleas to two counts of having received stolen firearms used to commit the robberies. He had gotten the weapons on July 12 and 17, about three months before he began the holdup spree. Potter noted in his guilty plea form, submitted to the judge for her review, that he is “socially and emotionally disturbed” and was supposed to have been on Prozac at the time of the heists.

No one was hurt in the robberies that occurred Oct. 8 at Tom’s Mobil in Columbia; Oct. 26 at Rutter’s Farm Store on West Market Street, Hallam; Nov. 3 at Turkey Hill Minit Mart, East Prospect Road in Lower Windsor Township; Nov. 5 at Turkey Hill Minit Mart, 1400 block of East Market Street, York; Nov. 7 at Rutter’s Farm Store, Greenbriar Road, York; Nov. 8 at Rutter’s Farm Stores on North George Street extended, Manchester Township, and on North George Street in North York; and Nov. 11 at Rutter’s Farm Store on South Main Street, Manchester.

Potter also pleaded guilty to one count of possessing drug paraphernalia. The court dismissed the theft and receiving stolen property charges that accompanied most of the robbery incidents.

Man pleads guilty

A York man who sped backward at a high rate of speed, dragging with him a state agent who was arresting him for furnishing alcoholic beverages to a minor, pleaded guilty Monday after sitting in jail 6 1/2 months for the offenses.

Jose R. Ortiz Jr., 39, of the 600 block of West Princess Street, York, entered pleas to simple assault, resisting arrest, recklessly endangering others and selling or furnishing alcoholic beverages to a minor. An aggravated assault count was dropped.

Common Pleas Judge Sheryl Ann Dorney approved the plea agreement, giving Ortiz the time-served sentence and releasing him from prison on 16 1/2 months of parole. She also fined him $1,000 on the selling/furnishing count and directed him to pay any restitution owed the agent.

Trooper Douglas D. Miller of the state police, who brought the charges against Ortiz, reported in court documents that Liquor Control Enforcement Officers John Mathias and Jerome Botchie were on an investigation in the area of the Majestic Restaurant, 287 W. Market St., York, about 10 p.m. Oct. 20.

They saw Ortiz and another man, later identified as 19-year-old Bradley Markle, go into the eatery after arriving in the parking lot in separate vehicles. The officers watched as Ortiz bought alcoholic beverages and, as they left the restaurant, give some of the purchases to Markle.

When the officers approached the men, they tried to flee. Ortiz jumped into his car with Mathias partially inside the vehicle, put it in reverse and backed out of the lot, dragging Mathias along.

Miller said Ortiz lost control of his car, drove onto the sidewalk and then stopped. Ortiz was then arrested.

Record Number:  0000401921