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UPDATED: Forcier, Campana Charged in Armed Robbery

Eric Wade Forcier, 26, faces four felony charges related to Monday's armed robbery and manhunt.

Updated: 1 p.m. Wednesday

Eric Wade Forcier, 26, of Farmington (police originally listed his address as Northfield), was charged in Rice County District Court on Wednesday with four felonies, including first-degree aggravated robbery, use of a deadly force against a peace officer, intentional discharge of a firearm that endangers safety and reckless discharge of firearm within a municipality, all connected to Monday's armed robbery of America's Best Value Inn & Suites and the subsequent manhunt.

The maximum penalty for all charges is 44 years in prison and/or a $75,000 fine.

Forcier is being held at the Rice County Jail on $1 million bail or $500,000 bail with conditions. He next appears in court Nov. 7.

Julie Ann Campana, 23, of Apple Valley, was charged with first-degree aiding and abetting aggravated robbery, a felony. Campana's bail was set at $100,000 or $50,000 with conditions. She next appears in court Nov. 7. 

For the more on the robbery and manhunt, read below.

The complaints for both are attached as PDFs.

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UPDATED: 10:30 a.m. Wedesday

Eric Wade Forcier, 26, of Farmington (police originally listed his address as Northfield), will be charged in Rice County District Court on Wednesday with four felonies, including first-degree aggravated robbery, use of a deadly force against a peace officer, intentional discharge of a firearm that endangers safety and reckless discharge of firearm within a municipality, all connected to Monday's armed robbery of America's Best Value Inn & Suites and the subsequent manhunt.

Julie Ann Campana, 23, of Apple Valley, will also be charged today with first-degree aiding and abetting aggravated robbery, a felony.

The complaints for both are attached as PDFs.

UPDATED: 8:30 a.m. Tuesday

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

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UPDATED: 11:10 a.m. Monday

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. Monday

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. Monday (ORIGINAL POSTED AT 6:02 a.m. MONDAY)

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.

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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

Cory Henrichs October 29, 2012 at 03:56 PM
oh shut up!!! i want you to get out there and do there work! if he happens to be the wrong man and charge him and call of the hunt the man who is really to be caught could skip town! seriously get off there butts as people stated before your sitting behind the computer in the safety of your home and the police are out there busting there buts!
Bauer October 29, 2012 at 03:58 PM
What are you talking about? They know who it is, they just haven't officially released the name yet.
Bauer October 29, 2012 at 04:12 PM
It's him. They found him in an employee's vehicle at Perkins Transportation.
Jesse Mitchell October 29, 2012 at 04:13 PM
They have released a picture and name of the guy that robbed in it And I'm not in the safety of my home I'm always in about talking on my phone So I'm out in public with this so called crazy guy
Cory Henrichs October 29, 2012 at 04:13 PM
i just got word that they confirmed that the suspect is the right guy
Cory Henrichs October 29, 2012 at 04:16 PM
well join them in the hunt as they are going in and out of businesses checking inside them and making sure hes not hiding in them
Bill Steele October 29, 2012 at 04:20 PM
Great job Corey keeping us informed! Kudos to Northfield law enforcement and the support of the other agencies contributing. These are people who put their lives on the line to protect our community. They deserve to be supported not smeared!
Carrie Hackney October 29, 2012 at 04:21 PM
Any word if the hotel clerk was hurt?
Jesse Mitchell October 29, 2012 at 04:21 PM
Okay they are stupid
Cory Henrichs October 29, 2012 at 04:22 PM
Thank you Bill i know the Northfield Police officers and none of them will slack off on there job they all do there best and ensure the safety of every person
Evan Colling October 29, 2012 at 04:23 PM
Why wouldn't he be able to be in Sechler Park with a gun?
Corey Butler Jr. October 29, 2012 at 04:25 PM
Let's keep it civil, all. Thanks.
Corey Butler Jr. October 29, 2012 at 04:26 PM
The clerk wasn't hurt.
Nikki Stai October 29, 2012 at 04:26 PM
Just heard how big the perimeter was and I am super impressed with the thoroughness of wrangling this guy in. A huge thank you to our law enforcement teams! Thank you also to the Northfield Police Department for sending out the notifications to all businesses and persons nearby, alerting them to the situation. My co-worker has a friend who works at Perkins Specialized Transportation and sent over a text and a photo letting us know that the arrested person was found hiding in a vehicle in their lot. He got some great up close photos!
Bill Steele October 29, 2012 at 04:28 PM
Looks like your incorrect Jesse....they got him in that area. Law enforcement 1 Jesse 0!
Cory Henrichs October 29, 2012 at 04:29 PM
lmfao really in a car in a restaurant parking lot? i would love to see these pictures!!
Mosquito October 29, 2012 at 05:13 PM
>Why wouldn't he be able to be in Sechler Park with a gun? Because there's a sign at the entrance to the park which states: Firearms are not welcome on City of Northfield premises.
Betsy Gasior October 29, 2012 at 06:58 PM
Thank goodness he was apprehended so quickly (these can often go on for days in rural areas such as ours where there are miles and miles to search), and no one got hurt. Thank you to our wonderful men and women in law enforcement that kept us safe. Thanks for keeping us all up to speed as it unfolded, Corey!
Brit Hall October 29, 2012 at 09:11 PM
It was Perkins Transportation genius. And for that matter, do you think it is low criminal standards to be caught at a Perkins.
Tammy Gisvold October 29, 2012 at 10:54 PM
I'm upset with the communication that was with held during the event. I received a text from a friend of mine this morning at 4:00 as he was leaving for work, letting me know that squads had blocked off 2 entrances from our subdivision onto Dundas Blvd (which turns into Armstrong Road up by the park entrance- maybe a mile away). officers were carrying M-16's and a helicopter was circling the air. He called the police department to see if the public needed to be concerned with anything. They said they could not comment but that they were searching for someone. I heard the helicopter circling til at least 5:30 when I finally drifted back to sleep. When I woke and started getting my kids ready for school, I googled "Northfield Police search" and came accross this site. I was upset to hear that the police had left out a very big detail- the suspect was armed and shots had been fired. Thinking at this point, it must be over and I no longer heard the helicopter, I continued getting my young children ready for school and had them walk to the neighbors for a brief period where they stay before walking to the bus stop. I informed my neighbor of what had taken place overnight and we agreed that an adult should walk to the bus stop with them. Upon attempting to leave the subdivision for work, I encountered the police officer at the entrance to the subdivision. My heart sunk and I knew immediately they had not apprehended him.
Tammy Gisvold October 29, 2012 at 11:01 PM
So why did Northfield PD wait until all the children were in school to heighten awareness and do a lock down? Why were phone calls made 5-6 hours after the incident? I read that they did not feel the suspect posed a threat to the general public. Really? A suspect on the run from law officials with a gun that he already fired at a deputy with? Why would they even want to take that chance? And when we specifically called about it at 4:00 am? I think Northfield PD needs to review the actions taken and re evaluate how they might handle the situation differently in the future. Because if they do things the same as they did this morning, we may not be so lucky as to have uninjured people.
Danny Urban October 30, 2012 at 01:18 AM
I can't agree more Tammy! I sure hope Rice County does the investigation on this. I wouldn't trust NPD on anything!!
TheVoiceOfReason October 30, 2012 at 04:30 AM
Wow. You called at 4am an hour and a half into a manhunt when things are extremely busy? They had bigger fish to fry than answering questions from every Nosy Nate that called in. They said they were looking for a guy, you heard a heard a police helicopter searching the area, you saw cops with M16s that were blocking off a subdivision, and you are mad at the cops for not giving more details? What part of the information you had to work with suggested it was safe to let your kids wander the neighborhood?
Mosquito October 30, 2012 at 01:18 PM
The one thing which should be looked into (and I'm sure it is) is communication between the police, the school district, and the charter schools. Arcadia Charter School (formerly ARTech) is less than a block from the motel which was robbed and less than a block from where the suspect was apprehended. Arcadia did not know about the robbery or the at large suspect until ~7:45. I don't know if the director would have done anything differently if given more time and information, but he didn't have any options at that point -- students were already arriving. The students stayed at school and it was on lock-down until the suspect was apprehended.
Corey Butler Jr. October 30, 2012 at 02:00 PM
The gun has been found and the woman has been named.
concernedparent October 30, 2012 at 08:03 PM
What about all these houses getting broke into in this area?? Has anyone even thought that all this is related to the major drug problem this town has??
TheVoiceOfReason October 30, 2012 at 08:12 PM
By all accounts the cops did an awesome job. There is always someone ready to piss in their wheaties. And I don't know where those automated calls come from. The only people that have that ability where I live is the school. So perhaps the school did the calling? That would account for the delay. Do the cops in Northfield actually have the technology to do robo-calls?
Angel Eddy November 01, 2012 at 03:36 AM
I arrived in town from the north for work at 6:30 am. I was notified of the incident at 6:37 am. I was reading alerts and updates on Patch/Facebook all morning, as well as hearing updates on KYMN. I knew schools in town were continuing as usual, but on alert, (on arrival to work) and I no longer have children in school here. I received a phone call (automated message) at approximately 8:53 am. notifying us the suspect was armed and should not be approached. Now, if I was laying in my bed, asleep, at 3 am, I certainly would not want to receive a phone call, automated no less, about an armed and dangerous man-out of a sound sleep-I'd panic! Hmmm... I believe the NPD, officers from surrounding communities, KYMN and Northfield Patch did an EXCELLENT job of keeping the community informed, and doing their jobs to the best of their abilities. You just can't make everybody happy all of the time. :)
Tammy Gisvold November 01, 2012 at 06:07 PM
"Voice of reason"- automated calls were not sent out by the school system- it was by law enforcement. It was an automated message giving a description of the suspect. It also instructed residents to not answer the door, and if they see the suspect, not to approach him. I think you might be misunderstanding here- no one (at least not myself) is "pissing in their wheaties" as you so eloquently put it. No one can argue that the outcome was less than excellent. But in any situation, the situation and actions taken can always be evaluated to see if any changes would be made in future situations. Angel- I completely agree with you, I certainly would not have liked getting a phone call at 4:00 am either. A phone call 4 hours into the man hunt, with the suspect still at large, while children are walking to school? Absolutely! What good did a phone call at 9:00 am do when a majority have left their homes by that point?
Joshua Gallup November 02, 2012 at 11:06 PM
Wow! Nice flame, voice of reason. I am the friend who texted Tammy to tell her about what I saw on my way to work. I also am the "nosy nate" who called the nfld police dept to try to determine how serious the situation was. When the reply was "we are looking for someone" I really don't think that was adequate. Yes, they were obviously looking for someone. Yes, obviously someone who may be dangerous. Someone with a gun, who fired at law enforcement officers.... Umm, that takes it to a new level. I guess that is information I should know if I want to take my dog for a walk. Tammy isn't upset that the police didn't call at 4 a.m. but when the search is still going on after 6 or 7, when kids are getting on the school bus, then calls should have gone out.

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