Who is Ray Reco McNeary? Wells Fargo hostages safe, arrested suspect had 'prior dispute with bank'
ST CLOUD, MINNESOTA: An hours-long standoff at a Wells Fargo bank in St Cloud finally ended late Thursday, May 6, after the final hostage, who was unharmed, was released and the alleged culprit was arrested, a police spokeswoman said. The suspect has been identified as Ray Reco McNeary - a 35-year-old Black male, however, his photo has not been released yet.
As per reports, McNeary entered the bank at 200 S 33rd Avenue on Thursday afternoon at around 1:45 pm to rob it when he held five staff members hostage. Police were called to the scene shortly after and negotiations with the alleged robber began. The man used a bank person to post a sticky note on a drive-through window with a phone number to call for negotiations, as per police scanner audio and a cell phone video reportedly shared by the suspect on the Facebook page of one of the captives.
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After several hours of tense drama, McNeary released one of the five hostages, who was a woman. Officers moved her to a safety point. After releasing his first victim, he apparently threw paper bills into the air. Immediately after that, another hostage -- a woman -- was freed, and minutes before 8 in the evening, the third hostage, a man, was released. Soon after that, another woman came out of the door of the bank. The freedom for the fifth and the last captive came at around 10:15 in the night after which cops went inside and took McNeary into custody.
Breaking: After more than eight hours at the hostage-taking standoff at a Wells Fargo bank in St. Cloud, Minn., FBI officers rushed in & apprehended the black male suspect alive. pic.twitter.com/lmIDR3TQMg— Andy Ngô (@MrAndyNgo) May 7, 2021
According to St Cloud Police Chief Blair Anderson, the alleged robber was not new to law enforcement officials and was scheduled to appear in court Thursday for “a violent offense.” The chief also stated that McNeary had “a prior dispute with the bank.”
Previously, Wells Fargo spokeswoman Staci Schiller released a statement that read, “We can confirm a hostage situation at Wells Fargo’s St Cloud South branch, located at 200 33rd Avenue South. We are cooperating with local law enforcement and will do whatever we can to assist the authorities in their investigation. We recognize this is a traumatic moment for the community and our colleagues. The safety and security of our customers and employees is our most important priority.”
After the situation was resolved, Anderson applauded the partnership between police, the FBI, and other law enforcement agencies. “Sitting in the command post was literally like watching a symphony,” the police chief added.
Meanwhile, a St Cloud resident named Abdi Kadir claimed he luckily escaped the hostage situation as he was at the bank drive-through just before 2 in the afternoon when the teller hurriedly asked him to leave. Another local, Abdi Ugas, said he went to the bank at 11 in the morning and was there till afternoon. “I'm so lucky” to escape the danger, he added. “We pray for the safety of the staff,” Farrah Aden, who was watching the scene with Kadir and Ugas, said.
Earlier, in 1983, Wells Fargo was robbed when an armed security guard reportedly drugged two co-workers and escaped with $7 million in cash. The alleged robber was later identified as Victor Manuel Gerena, 25, of Hartford.