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Police arrest suspect after standoff in Revere

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Published July 13, 2011 in The Boston Globe, page B2

After a nearly five-hour standoff, police entered a Revere home where a suspected armed robber known as the Backstreet Bandit was staying and arrested him last night after finding the man hiding in the attic, police said.

Rolando Gala, 29, of Boston was taken into custody after the standoff, said James Guido, the police incident commander on scene. The standoff began when Revere police tried to serve an arrest warrant on Gala at 68 Dale St. earlier yesterday.

Malden police had obtained a warrant for Gala in connection with the FBI’s Violent Crimes Task Force in the robbery of Brookline Bank at 196 Commercial St. in Malden, officials said in a statement. He is suspected in other recent robberies in the area, they said.

Police tried to enter the two-story home at 4:30 p.m., when Gala would not surrender and said he had a weapon, according to Guido. Other units were then called in.

Revere, Everett, and Malden police accompanied by Boston FBI and SWAT teams were on hand trying to coax Gala to come out.

The Revere Special Operations Unit, firing pepper spray, finally entered the home. Gala initially could not be located, but he was found in the attic, Guido said. Gala was arrested at approximately 9:15 p.m. without incident.

Gala has acquired the nickname Backstreet Bandit from the FBI after a string of robberies last year in which officials believed the robber’s fedora and button-down shirts resembled the clothing worn by the popular 1990s boy band, the Backstreet Boys.

A neighbor, who did not want to be identified, said she was at the scene yesterday for more than three hours. At one point, she estimated several hundred people had gathered. She also said that she saw multiple police dogs and that authorities shot gas into the home.

It was not immediately clear last night what Gala was doing at that home. He was turned over to Malden police last night.

“You might see an ambulance or fire truck, but you hardly ever see cops,’’ the neighbor said in describing the neighborhood.

George Rotondo, a Revere city councilor since 2003, said the area is normally a quiet one. “This is a desperate act by a desperate man,’’ he said.

When the Brookline Bank was robbed in June, the bandit reportedly demanded money from the bank teller and fled on foot. At his arrest in 2010, Gala had been accused of three robberies in Revere, Saugus, and Malden. No weapon was said to be involved in the robberites, and no one was injured.

Globe correspondent Derek Anderson contributed to this report.

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Written by jdunccc

July 13, 2011 at 9:44 am

Posted in The Boston Globe

Tagged with , ,