A former FDNY EMT -- and son of a high-ranking FDNY official -- who allegedly impersonated an NYPD officer over the years was arrested for robbing an alleged drug dealer of nearly 200 oxycodone pills, according to a complaint filed with the U.S. District Court of Eastern District of New York.
Robert Gala, 28 and of Sheepshead Bay, was arrested by the FBI Tuesday morning on federal Hobbs Act robbery charges. According to the complaint, Gala is a former FDNY EMT who posed as an NYPD officer in July, 2017 when he allegedly robbed a drug dealer of 180 oxycodone pills in Brooklyn.
Gala is the son of Michael Gala, the FDNY deputy assistant chief of operations. According to a previous report by the Daily News, the younger Gala's alleged opioid addiction -- which contributed to him allegedly being under the influence while on duty -- cost him his FDNY EMT job.
Robert Gala has been the subject of media reports that he had been arrested previously for impersonating an NYPD officer on several occasions beginning in 2013.
According to the complaint, on one instance, on July 24, 2017, an individual reported an attempted robbery in Brooklyn alleging that a man displaying a gold shield, ordered him to place his hands on the wall and restrained him with disposable plastic handcuffs while searching his pockets.
The individual allegedly asked the man why he was being placed under arrest, but didn't receive an answer. The man then got inside a vehicle with tinted windows and left the scene.
The individual reported the incident. Law enforcement obtained surveillance videos and, due to an anonymous tip, identified the man as Gala.
Subsequently, an NYPD detective who previously arrested Gala for possession of an imitation pistol, unlawful use of a police emblem and unlawful possession of handcuffs also identified Gala as the person depicted in the surveillance video, the complaint notes.
On Oct. 19, 2017, the individual who was initially stopped by Robert Gala and placed in plastic handcuffs, identified him as the culprit, according to the complaint.
On Dec. 1, 2017, according to the complaint, Robert Gala was arrested for robbery and while being processed he allegedly said: "You know that the guy I robbed is a drug dealer, right? The news made it sound worse than it was. I was just in a bad place and figured he was a bad guy ad I needed pills. I didn't think it out. I didn't think he would call the cops."
In a subsequent 2019 interview with law enforcement, the individual initially stopped by Robert Gala shared additional information. He said that the day when Robert Gala stopped him, he had filled a prescription for 180 oxycodone pills at a Brooklyn pharmacy. He then made arrangements to sell the pills to another person for $20 per pill and agreed to meet the buyer. As he was walking to meet the buyer, Gala allegedly approached him, ordered him against the wall, cuffed his hands using plastic handcuffs and took the prescription bottle containing 180 oxycodone pills, according to the complaint.
Attorney information for Robert Gala was not immediately known. He is scheduled to appear in federal court in Brooklyn via teleconference Tuesday.