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Apple Valley Woman Named as Suspect in Northfield Robbery

Julie Ann Campana, 23, was arrested Monday in connection to the robbery and subsequent manhunt.

The woman who police say helped Eric Wade Forcier rob America's Best Value Inn & Suites in Northfield early Monday morning has been identified as Julie Ann Campana, 23, of Apple Valley, according to Northfield Deputy Chief of Police Chuck Walerius.

Both Campana and Forcier are being held at the Rice County Jail.

Walerius said the handgun used in the robbery was also found not far from where the original traffic stop occured on Armstrong Road.

For the rest of the story, read the update below.


UPDATED: 11:10 a.m.

Law enforcement officials have captured Eric Wade Forcier, who is a suspect in an armed robbery Monday morning, according to Deputy Chief of Police Chuck Walerius.

Forcier was found hiding in a vehicle near Perkins Specialized Transportation at 10:45 a.m. and was arrested without incident. He's been transported to the Northfield Safety Center for questioning.

“We’re continuing to search for the weapon,” Walerius said.

The incident started around 2:45 a.m. when an armed robbery was reported at America's Best Value Inn & Suites on Highway 3.

A vehicle was stopped a short time later on Armstrong Road, which runs west of Sechler Park and connects downtown Dundas to Highway 19, and Forcier shot a semi-automatic handgun at a Rice County deputy and fled, according to Walerius. A woman in the vehicle was apprehended who identified Forcier as the man.

Walerius said it's unknown at this time how many shots were fired but it was more than once; nobody was injured.

Forcier has an extensive criminal history dating back to 2004, according to Minnesota Court records. Convictions include possession of stolen property, theft and fleeing police officers in a motor vehicle. Forcier most recently was convicted of receiving stolen property and a DWI in 2009 and served time at the St. Cloud Correction Facility.

Dozens of law enforcement agencies responded to Northfield to help with the search, including SWAT teams, several police departments, K-9 units and the Minnesota State Patrol helicopter.


UPDATED: 10:45 a.m.

Scanner traffic indicates that law enforcement has a person in custody near Perkins Specialized Transportation. We're waiting for confirmation on the suspect's identity. The gun has not been found, according to authorities.


UPDATED: 8:30 a.m.

Several law enforcement agencies are searching for a man who they say robbed the America's Best Value Inn & Suites around 2:45 a.m. Monday and then fired a gun at a Rice County deputy.

Deputy Chief of Police Chuck Walerius told Patch that a man, believed to be Eric Wade Forcier, 26, of Northfield, and a woman robbed the Highway 3 South hotel and were quickly stopped by a deputy from the Rice County Sheriff's Office along Armstrong Road, which runs west of Sechler Park and connects downtown Dundas to Highway 19.

The woman was apprehended but the man believed to be Forcier fled from the scene firing a semi-automatic handgun at the deputy. Walerius said it's unknown at this time how many shots were fired but it was more than once; nobody was injured.

Walerius said the woman told authorities that the man was Forcier. Forcier is described as 5 feet 11 inches, 200 pounds and was wearing a green or blue fleece, blue jeans, gloves, baseball hat and a black ski mask. 

Forcier has an extensive criminal history dating back to 2004, according to Minnesota Court records. Convictions include possession of stolen property, theft and fleeing police officers in a motor vehicle. Forcier most recently was convicted of receiving stolen property and a DWI in 2009 and served time at the St. Cloud Correction Facility.

Law enforcement have setup a perimeter and a command station at Kwik Trip on Highway 3 and Highway 19. Assisting with the search are the Sheriff's Office, Rice County SWAT, the Minnesota State Patrol and its helicopter, four Eagan K-9 units and several other area police departments.

There, Walerius said, officials are working on a gameplan. 

“We want to nab this guy," he said.

 

Impact on schools

The school district sent this statement to families this morning: 

Dear Families, 

You may be aware of an alleged armed robbery that took place overnight in Northfield. Our understanding is an individual – a man allegedly carrying a handgun – fled on foot into the woods on Armstrong Road near Dundas.

When the District became aware of the incident we contacted Northfield Police about the situation and how it may impact our schools. Northfield police advised that we heighten awareness around our schools but that a lockdown is not necessary. 

Our schools had elementary children report directly into their buildings this morning rather than remaining on the playground. Secondary students were moved as quickly as possible to their first hour classes upon arrival. 

Our primary focus is on student safety. We will continue to follow Northfield police advisement and will provide updates to families as they become available.

Sincerely, 
L. Chris Richardson, Superintendent

Chatty October 30, 2012 at 05:49 PM
Thanks to all the law inforcement, and swat team for risking your lives to keep up safe, and protected!!
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