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5 St. Cloud Bank Employees Unharmed After Hourslong Hostage Ordeal; Ray Reco McNeary In Custody

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- FBI agents negotiated for more than eight hours Thursday with a suspect who held five bank employees hostage in St. Cloud.

In a press conference held just before midnight Thursday, St. Cloud Police Chief Blair Anderson said a 911 call came in at about 1:48 p.m. from the branch manager of the Wells Fargo at 200 33rd Avenue South. The manager said they were concerned for the safety of customers and employees due to the presence of a "disgruntled" man who was upset about a previous transaction.

While officers were en route, police were notified that a panic alarm was triggered at the bank. All customers fled the building, leaving five employees there with the suspect, identified by Chief Anderson as 35-year-old Ray Reco McNeary.


Ray Reco McNeary
(credit: Stearns County)

When police arrived, McNeary asked for the FBI to be called in. An FBI tactical team and a crisis negotiation team came to the scene, and were in open communication for hours with McNeary.

The first hostage was released just before 6:30 p.m. Right after she exited, McNeary was seen throwing a wad of cash out onto the sidewalk.

At about 7:45 p.m., a second hostage was released.

A third hostage left the building just after 7:50 p.m.

A fourth hostage was escorted away just after 8 p.m.

Chief Anderson said some of the five hostages made a run for the door to escape, including the fifth and final hostage, who can be seen rolling out of the front door right as St. Cloud police and FBI tactical teams moved in to storm the building. McNeary was then arrested without incident.

Anderson said it's not clear if McNeary had a weapon, and investigators were still searching the building. He also said McNeary has "an extensive criminal" history that goes back about a decade, and he was actually due in court Thursday in connection to a violent offense.

Stearns County Attorney Janelle Kendall said during Thursday night's press conference that her office was actively talking with the U.S. Attorney's Office about which agency will file charges against McNeary, which are expected to include bank robbery and kidnapping.

Hundreds of people gathered across the street from the bank for hours to watch the events unfold, cheering each time a hostage left the building.

At one point during the evening, McNeary used one of the hostage's phones and their Facebook account to post a brief livestreamed video, where two hostages are seen calmly seated as FBI agents stand outside a drive-through teller window.

Police say no hostages or members of law enforcement were hurt in the ordeal. McNeary was also unharmed.

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