A bank robber once dubbed by the FBI the “Backstreet Bandit” for his boy band-like attire is once again on the Most Wanted list for the rapid and brazen heist of two banks in the North End.
Police responded to back-to-back robberies on Hanover Street at 9:10 a.m. on Sept. 17, where a scruffy-looking thief hit branches of Citizens and Santander banks in broad daylight. An investigation into the crimes led authorities back to a familiar foe: Rolando Gala.
A warrant is out for his arrest for unarmed robbery.
The FBI nicknamed Gala, 39, the “Backstreet Bandit” back in 2010 when its Violent Crimes Task Force investigated a string of bank robberies around Malden, Saugus and Revere. The moniker came from the Boston man’s habit of wearing fedoras and collared shirts while doing his dirty work. Authorities compared his outfits to those of 1990s boy band The Backstreet Boys.
Gala faced robbery charges in Suffolk County after a dramatic standoff with police in 2010. At the time of his arrest, he was also charged with possession with intent to distribute heroin and possession with intent to distribute prescription drugs.
During his initial court appearance in Chelsea District Court years ago, even his lawyer conceded he had quite the rap sheet.
“He’s been around the block a couple times,” his attorney at the time, Francisco Napalitano told reporters outside the courthouse in 2010.
After last month’s robberies, police immediately put out a photo of a suspect wanted. It shows a dark-haired man walking down Hanover Street with a bulging plastic CVS bag.
Boston Police are asking for the public’s help in identifying this person sought after two banks were robbed Friday in the North End. (BPDnews.com photos)
No fedora was pictured, but police “conducted an investigation leading to the identification of a suspect and a subsequent warrant for his arrest,” according to a statement, and now they seek the public’s help in bagging Gala.
The bandit who hit the North End banks in September was unarmed, but that didn’t stop him from convincing bank workers he was strapped.
“No weapons were shown during the incidents but the suspect gestured as if he had one in his possession,” police said in an initial statement.
Gala joined six other individuals on Boston Police’s Most Wanted list this week. Anyone with knowledge about him can reach out to police anonymously by calling the CrimeStoppers Tip Line at 800-494-TIPS or texting the word ‘TIP’ to CRIME (27463).
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