Looking Back

19

May 11, 1994

Two men, each with a powerful .357 revolver in hand, wearing plastic Halloween masks, walked in on customers and store personnel of Day’s Jewelry Store in downtown Westbrook at 10:29 a.m. Thursday. They walked out minutes later with jewelry worth “in the tens of thousands,” say police. They made a clean getaway. The men told everyone to lie on the floor, then smashed open the two glass cases that contained the store’s most valuable diamonds and other jewelry. The car that brought them was driven by a third man, also wearing a mask. They slipped out the back and sped off, making a right turn onto Bridge Street. Police responded immediately and on a hunch of Sgt. Mike Sanphy, looked behind the Eagles Club nearby on Bridge Street. Sure enough, there was the car Day’s people described. The three men were gone.

Ronald Allanach is turning from running a police force at the city level to giving out help and information at the federal level. He unpins his Westbrook police chief’s badge May 31 and starts work the next morning at 10 Moulton St. in Portland, one of the several Maine offices of U.S. Sen. William S. Cohen. Cohen announced Allanach’s appointment Thursday, two days after Allanach submitted his resignation in Westbrook. With phone calls, letters and personal meetings, Allanach expects to work on constituents’ issues with Social Security, veterans benefits and other topics.

From the Gorham Police Log: A resident told police he almost hit a white husky dog with his motorcycle by White Rock Park. The man said the dog is always running loose. A Narragansett Street resident reported that kids were taunting and harassing her dog. A stray golden retriever was reported by a North Gorham Road resident.

May 12, 2004

A light breeze snapped flags, a bugler blew Taps and soldiers stood at attention in ranks as a Westbrook family and the U.S. Army buried a hero with full military honors Friday. An Army honor guard fired three volleys in a final salute for Sgt. Lawrence A. Roukey, 33, of Westbrook, who died in an explosion on April 26 in Baghdad. He was buried in Calvary Cemetery, South Portland, beside his parents, Robert and Barbara. His death shook the community. Between those who visited in the funeral home and those at the standing-room-only service at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Portland, more than 1,200 mourners paid their final respects.

In a wild shoot-out 45 years ago this Friday, Westbrook’s first full-time police chief, Pierre Harnois, was gunned down by a deranged man who had killed his wife earlier on the afternoon of May 14, 1959, in Limerick. The gunman, Gordon Hamlin, 51, died from a gunshot to the chest, an apparent suicide, making a toll of three dead and two officers wounded. The tragedy called attention to the lack of tactical training police had to deal with armed standoffs and spurred training changes in later years. Westbrook Police Chief Paul McCarthy and Sgt. Allen Tundel placed a new flag on Harnois’ grave last week. “He was the consummate police officer,” said McCarthy. “He professionalized the department as its first full-time, permanent chief.”

A new event, Bikers for Books for Baxter, is set for May 22 at Baxter Memorial Library in Gorham. It includes a motorcycle show, a bicycle decorating contest, safety tips, food, crafts and door prizes. Riders and readers are invited to buy books for the Baxter Library youth services collections at the event.