Suspect arrested after 100 mph police chase

  • Article by: TIM HARLOW , Star Tribune
  • Updated: March 28, 2008 - 10:39 PM

A man believed to have robbed several area banks led police through the northern suburbs before crashing.

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End of the chase caught on MnDOT camera at I-494 and Hwy. 55, 7:30 a.m.

A man suspected of robbing a bank early Friday led law enforcement on a high-speed chase through the northwest suburbs -- weaving around rush-hour traffic at nearly 100 miles an hour -- before crashing his car and exchanging gunfire with police.

Authorities believe the suspect is the same man who has robbed several other banks in the metro area.

The chase began in St. Anthony, where police say the suspect robbed the TCF Bank of Silver Lake Road at gunpoint at 6:45 a.m.

The man drove a silver Toyota sedan north on Silver Lake Road, then west on Interstate 694. Officers from numerous agencies joined the chase as it moved through Brooklyn Center, Brooklyn Park and down Interstate 494 in Maple Grove and Plymouth.

The chase frightened some motorists. Trisha Fisher was in Maple Grove, about to head southbound on I-494 where it joins I-694, when she saw six squad cars speeding by.

"I made a decision at the split to take I-694 [east] to 81, which was a good choice," she said. "I don't need to be accidentally shot because of some idiot robbing a bank."

The suspect finally exited I-494 on Hwy. 55 and crashed as he tried to reenter the freeway going the wrong direction in Plymouth. A Hennepin County Sheriff's Office dispatcher said the suspect was shot after being stopped at about 7:20 a.m. He was taken to North Memorial Medical Center in Robbinsdale with non-life threatening injuries.

This robbery and its suspect are similar to those described in a March 13 news release from the FBI about an armed, masked, lone gunman who robbed a TCF Bank in St. Louis Park. That release connected the man to several other bank robberies, including the Jan. 11 and Nov. 2 armed robberies of the same TCF Bank on Silver Lake Road in St. Anthony.

TCF Bank Spokesman Jason Korstange said the St. Anthony branch was not open at the time of the incident Friday, and the three employees reporting for work were not hurt.

The culprit pointed a black semi-automatic handgun at the employees, led them to a back room and told them to open the vault, said FBI Special Agent Paul McCabe. The robber ordered the employees to the floor, placed cash in a white cloth bag and fled.

Federal charges could come next week, McCabe said.

Staff writer Jenna Ross contributed to this report. Tim Harlow • 612-673-7768

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