Police: Armed robber was 'experiencing the spirit of God' at Mesa QT

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Brandon Piacitelli (Source: Maricopa County Sheriff's Office) Brandon Piacitelli (Source: Maricopa County Sheriff's Office)
MESA, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -

A Mesa man is facing nearly a dozen charges, most of them felonies, after allegedly robbing a convenience store while “experiencing the spirit of God.’”

Police say Brandon Scott Piacitelli, 38, had a loaded handgun in his waistband when they arrested him on Monday, Nov. 6. They also found a second handgun, a semi-automatic rifle and several loaded magazines in his vehicle.

According to the probable cause for arrest statement, Piacitelli told a woman to run in the parking lot of the QuikTrip convenience store at University Drive and Ellsworth Road last Monday.

“’Don’t ask questions. Just run,’” he said, according to court documents.

“Video surveillance footage showed the defendant enter the convenience store, and recklessly brandish a handgun,” the arresting officer wrote. “According to multiple witnesses, the defendant said someone was ‘going to die,’ as he was waving the handgun around.”

Police say Piacitelli got into his car and left the scene only to return a short time later. He quickly sped away again “driving erratically and recklessly through a residential area and near an occupied school ….”

Officers were able to detain Piacitelli.

“The defendant repeatedly made spontaneous statements about how he was experiencing the ‘spirit of God,’ and that someone was going to meet God today,” according to court documents. “He also said he was going to ‘repent today,’ and he was ‘going to show us how [to repent].’ He said the devil was in his backyard, and he had been recording himself dancing around in his backyard for four days, losing sleep.”

Police said Piacitelli continued talking to them after they read him his Miranda rights. The arresting officer said Piacitelli told him about his Facebook posts.

“…[He] told me, ‘The whole world’s waiting to see my next post,’” according to the probable cause statement. “He said, ‘I’m just trying to prove who has the spirit of God,’ and ‘I’ve been doing nothing but trying to stuff the evil down inside of me … I just unleashed a huge bag of truth on this world …like nobody’s ever seen.’”

Police said Piacitelli described the reaction of the people inside the store with him as “bedaffled.”

“’I was just trying to save everybody’s life, and I was acting like a maniac back there,’” Piacitelli said according to court paperwork.

Piacitelli is facing three counts each of kidnapping and aggravated assault, as well as one count each of first-degree burglary, disorderly conduct and unlawful flight from law enforcement.

In addition to indicating that Piacitelli might have mental health issues, court documents also cite a 2004 arrest for disorderly conduct and marijuana possession.

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