Woman suspect in bank robbery

Mille Lacs County’s K-9 unit was out on the trail of the bank robber.

Princeton Police continued their search this week for a woman who robbed the Peoples Bank of Commerce on Friday, Feb. 10.

At about 12:10 p.m., Friday a woman wearing a black winter jacket, black hat and blue jeans walked into the bank, located at 209 South Rum River Drive and demanded money. The woman, described as 5’3” to 5’6” in height with a thin build, was wearing dark-colored sunglasses and her face was partially covered with a bandana, according to Sgt. Joe Backlund of the Princeton Police Department.

Moments later, the woman left on foot to the west towards 6th Ave. S. A witness inside the bank at the time of the robbery told the Union-Eagle that a teller inside the bank was yelling “We’ve been robbed.” A woman from within the bank then initially tried to chase the robbery suspect, the witness said.

She got away with an undisclosed amount of cash, Backlund said.

Within minutes police vehicles were parked in front of the bank and the doors to the business were locked. Customers attempting to do business at the bank were turned away. Yellow crime-scene tape flanked the bank property. Princeton’s Public Utilities workers put up barricades in the alley leading to the bank.

The search for the woman moved to the streets of Princeton.

Law enforcement officials from the Princeton Police Department, Mille Lacs County Sheriff’s Department, Milaca Police Department and Minnesota State Patrol blocked off north-south streets, mainly between First Street and Second Street South for a couple blocks west of Rum River Drive. Mille Lacs deputies combed the area with a canine unit as another deputy made his way through the neighborhood carrying an automatic rifle. Neither turned up a robbery suspect.

By 1 p.m., the school district office and its early childhood center at 706 First St. went on a soft lockdown. Princeton High School and South Elementary, both within a half mile of the robbery scene, were also placed on soft lockdown, according to Superintendent Rick Lahn.

The bank robbery is believed to be only the second in the city in recent history. The Twin City Federal Co-op Credit Union, now Spire, was robbed on June 29, 1995, according to archives of the Union-Eagle.

On Monday, Investigator Todd Frederick of the Princeton Police Department and an agent from the FBI were continuing to follow up on leads, but none of those leads had materialized as of midafternoon, Backlund said.

If anyone has any information please contact the Princeton Police Department at 763-389-4879 or at tipline@princetonpolice.com.

Peoples Bank operates six locations with two branch offices in Cambridge, as well as offices in East Bethel, Edina and St. Paul.

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