Two women were arrested on felony charges Sunday night in connection with an armed robbery in a parking lot near the Mendenhall Valley.
Brenda Gallant, 29, has been charged with robbery in the first degree and Jennifer Blankenship, 29, has been charged with aiding and abetting robbery in the first degree over the incident. Both charges are Class A felonies, punishable by up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
A woman called the Juneau Police Department at about 9:44 p.m. Sunday to report that she and a friend had been robbed by Gallant, Blankenship and a third woman at a parking lot near the Gastineau Humane Society on Glacier Highway, according to court documents. The alleged victim said the three left in a silver Mercedes Benz.
Juneau Police Department officers made a traffic stop in Gruening Park that matched the description of the vehicle with a 50-year-old woman driving with Gallant and Blankenship in the Mercedes Benz.
Police talked to the two alleged female victims, ages 30 and 22, who said they had driven to meet the 50-year-old woman at the GHS parking lot, according to court documents. It was not clear what the reason for the meeting was.
Shortly after one victim got out of the car to talk to the driver, she noticed two people walking toward her from behind the GHS building, one of them holding a knife, the document says. She then jumped back in the vehicle with her friend, but before they could leave, Gallant allegedly opened the door while holding a knife and said, "You're not going anywhere, give me all your stuff," according to court documents.
Blankenship allegedly took the keys out of the vehicle's ignition before the two victims could leave.
Gallant allegedly stole $100 along with two purses containing miscellaneous items. When police stopped the Mercedes Benz there were two purses in the car matching the descriptions of the ones taken from the victims, according to court documents. The documents also say Blankenship was found in possession of a knife matching the description of the one used in the robbery.
"The vehicle was seized as evidence and the follow up was turned over to an investigator and they were going to get a search warrant to search the vehicle that was impounded," JPD spokesman Sgt. Dave Campbell said.
The 50-year-old woman was released from the scene and not arrested but police are continuing to investigate the incident, Campbell said.
"The investigation into the entire incident is still going on and at this point in time the driver was released but there very well could be some charges down the road," he said.
Gallant also had a warrant out for her arrest at the time of the incident.
"She's got a pretty extensive criminal history," Campbell said.
Gallant's arrest record goes back more than a decade and includes convictions for assault, larceny, drunken driving, domestic violence assault and disorderly conduct. Blankenship also has an extensive record, with convictions that include assault, criminal mischief, theft, drunken driving, resisting arrest and disorderly conduct.
Both Gallant and Blankenship are presently being held in the Lemon Creek Correctional Center on $25,000 bail each.
Contact reporter Eric Morrison at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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