Suspected pharmacy robber’s getaway foiled by drivers during alleged carjacking attempts

Posted Jan. 10, 2013, at 10:40 a.m.
Last modified Jan. 10, 2013, at 1:21 p.m.

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SANFORD, Maine — A man who police say had just robbed a pharmacy made two carjacking attempts at gunpoint in his effort to get away, but both attempts were thwarted by the vehicle’s drivers.

In one attempt, he pointed a handgun at a woman and tried to take her car and drive away with it, but she sped up and he was unable to do so. The man then allegedly pointed the gun at a second driver, who hit him with her car.

The man, identified by police as Brian A. Gallerani, 27, of Biddeford, then ran away, but police soon had him in custody. After being checked at Goodall Hospital, he was taken to York County Jail, where he remained this morning in lieu of $25,000 cash bail. He was scheduled to make a first appearance at Springvale District Court, likely by video link to the jail, authorities said, this afternoon.

“Sanford officers were assisted by at least two citizens who saw the suspect fleeing the scene of the attempted carjackings, and directed police to the area, where the suspect was eventually apprehended,” said Police Chief Thomas Connolly. “This incident occurred at approximately 12:30 p.m., and the suspect was in custody 10 minutes later due to the rapid and focused response of the officers.”

The incident began at Walgreens Tuesday, when a man walked up to the consultation area, lifted his sweatshirt to display a handgun and then demanded prescription drugs. He was given some, and then he ran away, down Acorn Street to Riverside Avenue, said Connolly, at the scene Tuesday afternoon.

“He tried to carjack the first vehicle at the corner of Acorn and Riverside Avenue,” said Connolly.

A witness told police the man was trying to get inside the car, and had pointed a gun at the driver, who sped away, said Officer Matthew Johns.

Then, he pointed a gun at the second driver who hit him with her car. The man went over the hood and the windshield, said Connolly, and ran away. He was apprehended as he was running through some backyards on Winter Street.

The man had dropped the handgun, a cellphone and some of the prescription drugs on Riverside Avenue, but was attempting to swallow some of the drugs he had allegedly stolen when officers took him down, the police chief said.

Officers who apprehended Gallerani included Cpl. Troy Braley, Detective Sgt. Matt Jones, Detective Eric Small, and Officers Chris Cyr and Steve Caron.

“It was a great response,” said Connolly.

The incident is believed to be the first-ever attempted carjacking in Sanford and first pharmacy robbery in the city for some time.

Connolly said the department has adopted a new policy of checking the city’s pharmacies daily when they can.

Gallerani was charged with three counts of robbery — which includes the pharmacy robbery and the two attempted carjackings — along with stealing drugs and a probation violation charge.

Connolly said the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Portland Field Office will be working with the Sanford Police Department during the investigation.

While the suspect is most recently of Biddeford, police documents indicate he used to live in Hartland.

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