Man Identified, Sought in Connection with 34-Year-Old Rape at Hit or Miss Department Store in Framingham

Stephen Gale

FRAMINGHAM – Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan and Framingham Police Chief Lester Baker announced today that Stephen Paul Gale, 71, has been identified and charged with four counts of aggravated rape, two counts of kidnapping and one count of armed robbery of two women at the Hit or Miss Store in Framingham in 1989. 

On the morning of December 27, 1989, a white male, now identified as Stephen Paul Gale, entered the Hit or Miss Store on Route 9. He showed a .357 Magnum handgun and forced two female employees to the back of the store.  He made one victim empty the money from a locked safe, the store’s register and her pocketbook into a bag. He made the second victim lock the doors and put a sign on the front door saying the store would open late. The suspect then forced the victims to take off their clothes and placed them in separate rooms.  He sexually assaulted both women while holding the gun to their heads. When the suspect returned to the front of the store, the victims fled out the rear fire door to a nearby home.

Evidence was collected that led to investigators to be able to obtain the suspect’s DNA.

A DNA profile was developed for the suspect and uploaded to CODIS in 2001. There were never any hits identifying the suspect. 

In 2022, as part of the ongoing investigation into this case, Middlesex prosecutors and the Framingham Police contracted with Parabon Nanolabs to conduct an investigative genetic genealogy to try to develop new leads that could help identify the suspect. With this assistance and, after additional police investigation, DNA samples were obtained from known members of the defendant’s family.  STR profiles were developed and submitted to Bode Technology for comparison to the suspect sample.  This DNA evidence and the statistical results comparing the probability of relatedness provide probable cause to identify Stephen Paul Gale and led to the issuance of today’s arrest warrant.

“Today’s announcement comes as a result of persistent investigatory work and a collaborative effort across law enforcement agencies nationwide. When I started our Cold Case Unit in 2019 I made a commitment to pursuing all available options to provide answers for victims. I am grateful for the efforts made so far to locate Mr. Gale and I hope that by raising the profile of this case across the country, we will locate him so that he can be held accountable for his alleged actions,” said District Attorney Ryan.

“First and foremost,” adds Framingham Police Chief Lester Baker, “I’d like to acknowledge the victims for their bravery. Without their ongoing help and courage, we would never have been able to finally have a break in this horrific crime. It’s been a long time coming—over thirty years now--and I am grateful to now have the opportunity to finally tell them--and their loved ones--that all of their efforts have not been in vain. This crime has haunted the Framingham community for decades, but none of us ever gave up hope or forgot about them.

“I’d like to also thank the Framingham Police Detectives for their ongoing efforts. Over the years, they continued to develop and to follow up on the leads that helped to bring us to this point. Thank you, too, to the Bureau of Investigative Services for their ongoing commitment and tenacity. It has truly been a team effort, and I’d like to also take a moment to acknowledge all of our local, state and federal partners here in the Commonwealth--and across the country--who came together to assist with this case.”  

The U.S. Marshals Service is offering up to a $5,000 reward for information leading to Gale’s arrest.  This reward will be processed immediately upon arrest and not upon conviction.

Below are two images, an image created by the Federal Bureau of Investigation of an age progress photo of what the suspect may look like today and the most recent photo of Stephen Paul Gale from 1995.

Gale has been known to use the aliases Stephen Pisarcik, John Rossi, Paul Costa, Paul DeRosa, Paul DiCarli, Paul Joseph DeCarlo, Steve Miner, Paul Williams, and Paul Ptaszynski. He is last known to be living in Los Angeles, California and Las Vegas, Nevada.  He also may have ties to Phoenix, Arizona, Texas, Utah and Florida.  He previously has been identified as having ties to organized crime.  He stands 5’11” and weighs about 200 pounds.

We ask that any person with information regarding the location of Stephen Paul Gale contact the Framingham Police Department at 508-532-5923.  [Tips can be called into the U.S. Marshals Boston Tipline at 1-877-WANTED2 (926-8332) or by using the USMS Tips App.]

This case is being investigated by the Middlesex District Attorney’s Office, the Framingham Police Department, Massachusetts State Police Detectives assigned to the District Attorney’s Office, the Massachusetts State Police Violent Fugitive Apprehension Section, the United States Marshals Service, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Massachusetts State Police Crime Laboratory. 

Assistance has been provided by Parabon Nanolabs, the Washington D.C. Metropolitan Police Department, the Boston Police, the Boston Police Department Sexual Assault Kit Initiative (SAKI) team, the Los Angeles Police Department Robbery-Homicide Division Cold Case Homicide Unit, the Nevada Secretary of State’s Office, the Investigation Division of the State of Nevada, Office of the Attorney General, and the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department.

The prosecutors assigned to this case are Assistant District Attorney Katharine Folger and Ryan Rall.  The Victim Witness Advocate is Meaghan McCarthy.

These charges are allegations and all suspects are presumed innocent until proven guilty.

In 2019 District Attorney Marian Ryan created a new Cold Case Unit. This initiative reflects the Office’s unwavering commitment to Middlesex County’s oldest cases. Today’s announcement marks the eight cold case resolved since the creation of that unit. 

View the photos here:

Watch the press conference here: