A man arrested for robbing a liquor store in Hamilton at knifepoint may be connected to several area robberies in recent months, including at P & S Convenient Store on Lowell Street.
, there is an “extensive investigation” focused on Michael Gallella in connection with his possible role in armed robberies in Reading, Saugus, Wakefield and Marblehead.
Video surveillance footage from the and robberies shows a suspect who bears a heavy resemblance to Gallella, including images from Wakefield showing the assailant holding a knife to the clerk’s face.
As of this writing, Gallella, 30, whose last known address is in Stoneham, in the Marblehead and Wakefield robberies. Gallella’s alleged accomplice and girlfriend, Ashley Mazac, 24, is also facing charges in connection with the two robberies. The pair are facing armed robbery charges, along with a slew of lesser charges, including drug possession.
According to prosecutors at Ipswich District Court, Gallella is drug dependent, and Hamilton Police recovered cocaine, marijuana and hypodermic needles during a search of his 2001 Hyundai Tiburon.
The yellow Hyundai matches the description of the vehicle seen leaving the P & S robbery, and Gallella’s predilection for employing a blade during the holdups is also consistent with the Friday night robbery.
According to Reading Police, the investigation into the P & S robbery is ongoing, and no one has been charged.
At approximately 8:46 p.m., a male suspect, described as between 19 and 25 years old, with brown eyes, a stocky build and olive or tan complexion entered the P & S store, showed the clerk the knife and demanded money, which was duly turned over in an unknown amount.
The suspect then fled in a yellow motor vehicle. Additional descriptive information puts the suspect at around 5-foot-8 inches tall, left-handed with black bushy eyebrows, wearing a black ski hat and mask, dark blue jeans and tan boots.
Police from Wilmington, as well as state police from the Danvers barracks responded, and North Reading Police conducted an unsuccessful search for the suspect and vehicle.
Gallella and Mazac were arrested by Hamilton Police shortly after on Saturday. Police found a grey sweatshirt, black stocking hat, sunglasses and knife in his car. The knife was 2-1/2 to 3 inches long with a serrated edge.
After Gallella’s arrest, he gave his name as that of a former friend who works for the Transportation Security Administration. And that was actually the second fake name Gallella allegedly gave police. After first providing a different, fake name and date of birth, a computer records check by police found that nobody existed with the name and date of birth he provided.
It was after police searched Gallella’s Hyundai that they found his driver’s license with his real name. And later police called the TSA to speak with the person whose name Gallella originally provided. Part of Gallella’s attempted ruse was talking about his work for the TSA, police said. In the end, Gallella admitted to using the same name, date of birth and address of the former friend in the past.
Gallella also had an outstanding warrant for not showing up to a court hearing in an armed robbery case from July 2007 in Tewksbury as well as a warrant charging him with uttering a false check and larceny under $250 in November 2010 in Malden, where he falsely told Hamilton police he lived before his true identity was discovered.