An Apple Valley woman was sentenced to three years in federal prison on Wednesday for her role in the armed robbery of a Northfield hotel. Last week, her co-defendant and ex-boyfriend, a Farmington man, was sentenced to 20 years in prison for pointing a gun at the night manager of Americas Best Value Inn and Suites last October.
Julie Ann Campana, 23, and Eric W. Forcier, 27, got away with $114. They were charged in December in U.S. District Court in St. Paul with interfering with commerce and use of a firearm during a violent crime. Both pleaded guilty April 2.
According to authorities, Forcier wore a Halloween mask when he robbed the hotel on Hwy. 3, south of downtown Northfield, about 2:45 a.m. Oct. 29. Campana was the lookout and getaway driver. She also admitted that before the robbery, she questioned the night manager about the hotel’s after-hours operations.
Police stopped their vehicle about 3 a.m. Forcier fled on foot into nearby woods, firing several times at officers and missing. After an eight-hour search, he was tracked to a trucking company plant, where he was found cold and wet, huddled in a blanket in the back of a pickup truck. Temperatures were the low 30s at the time, and Forcier had crossed the Cannon River after fleeing.
According to a news release from the U.S. attorney’s office, Forcier admitted at his plea hearing that he also robbed four other businesses. On Oct. 22, he stole $1,850 from Eddy’s Bar & Grill in Inver Grove Heights. He said he entered the bar, pointed a gun at several employees and fired it at the ceiling. On Oct. 15, he stole $60 from an Apple Valley Domino’s Pizza; on Oct. 18, he stole $155 from a Bloomington SuperAmerica, and on Oct. 19, he stole $200 from an Apple Valley Jiffy Lube.
Campana said she was his getaway driver for the robberies at Eddy’s, SuperAmerica and Domino’s.