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Man who took 5 hostages at a Minnesota bank threw cash, made threats and wanted to be a 'martyr,' court docs say

USA TODAY logo USA TODAY 5/7/2021 Clairissa Baker, St. Cloud Times
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ST. CLOUD, Minn. — A man who took five hostages at a Minnesota Wells Fargo bank on Thursday wasn't armed with a gun but held scissors to a person's neck, destroyed hostages' phones and threw cash around the bank during a eight-hour standoff Thursday, according to police and court documents.

Ray Reco McNeary, 35, told both hostages and law enforcement he intended to kill the employees, according to court documents. He said he wanted to “go viral” and to be a “martyr" and also threatened to kill himself or put law enforcement in a position to kill him.

The incident put a community on edge as FBI agents worked with local agencies to free the hostages, one of whom spent part of the standoff in hiding, communicating with law enforcement via cell phone, authorities say.

McNeary has been charged with one felony count of first-degree aggravated robbery, five felony counts of kidnapping with a non-firearm weapon and one felony count of second-degree, non-firearm assault with a dangerous weapon.

According to the court complaint against him, McNeary arrived at the bank Thursday afternoon upset about alleged fraud on his account. The bank manager took McNeary into his office but could not find his account. McNeary became more upset, and 911 was called. Shortly after, an employee pushed a silent panic alarm.

a store front at day: A woman comes out of the Wells Fargo bank building as St. Cloud police work an active hostage situation. © Dave Schwarz, dschwarz@stcloudtimes.com A woman comes out of the Wells Fargo bank building as St. Cloud police work an active hostage situation.

Bank customers fled, according to St. Cloud Police Chief William Blair Anderson, but five bank employees were held hostage in the building. McNeary demanded money and to speak with the FBI.

'Peaceful resolution': Hourslong hostage situation at Wells Fargo bank in Minnesota ends with arrest, authorities say

McNeary forced an employee to the bank vault where a large bag of cash was given to him. McNeary grabbed the employee’s wrist, causing a watch to cut into the employee. He told the employees that he was going to harm them.

McNeary said he wanted “a big show” with the FBI and media attention. An employee said McNeary threw large amounts of cash inside the bank and began taking the employees’ phones and slamming them into objects or putting them in water to disable them.

According to the complaint, four employees were held in the lobby. A fifth bank worker hid in an office and was communicating with law enforcement until his cell phone battery died.

McNeary later acquired a key card, discovered the person hiding in the office and forced the worker out with the other hostages.

As McNeary became more agitated throughout the crisis, he threatened the employees, according to the complaint.

At one point, McNeary stood behind an employee and placed scissors to the person’s neck, threatening to stab them and pushing them to the ground. 

a person posing for the camera: Ray Reco McNeary © Stearns County Jail Ray Reco McNeary

Nearly six hours later, an employee pushed past McNeary and escaped the building around 7:09 p.m.

Another person was allowed to leave because of medical problems, the complaint said, and two others were later allowed to leave. 

Around 10:30 p.m., negotiators communicated with the last person held inside the bank that St. Cloud Police and FBI entry teams were prepared to enter.

The person ran for the front door as teams entered the building, according to the complaint. 

The Stearns County Attorney's Office is consulting with the U.S. Attorney's Office regarding potential federal charges, according to Stearns County Attorney Janelle Kendall. Kendall said state charges will proceed as normal until a decision is made about potential federal charges. 

McNeary appeared in court Friday afternoon, according to court records, and is next scheduled to appear in court Monday morning. 

More: Chief lauds 'peaceful resolution' to 8-hour hostage situation at St. Cloud Wells Fargo bank

Staci Schiller, a spokesperson for Wells Fargo, told the St. Cloud Times Friday morning that the safety and security of customers and employees is their priority.

"We are incredibly relieved and grateful that the situation has been resolved with no physical injuries to any of our employees or customers," Schiller said in response to an email request. 

"We are proud of our employees in the branch as they handled the situation extremely well, staying calm throughout the ordeal," Schiller said. 

This article originally appeared on St. Cloud Times: Man who took 5 hostages at a Minnesota bank threw cash, made threats and wanted to be a 'martyr,' court docs say

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