Possible Robbery Turns Into Hostage Situation at Minnesota Wells Fargo Bank

Negotiations are currently underway in a hostage situation at a Wells Fargo Bank in St. Cloud, MN Thursday evening.

"There are an undisclosed number of bank employees being held hostage inside," according to St. Cloud Police Lt. Lori Ellering. "There are no reports of injuries. In addition to SCPD, the FBI is also working on the scene along with SWAT resources.

Officers were called to the scene at 200 33rd Avenue South, in St. Cloud on just before 2 p.m. CDT Thursday afternoon to respond to what was being called a possible robbery in progress. Later, a Wells Fargo spokesperson issued this statement to local news: "We can confirm a hostage situation at Wells Fargo's St. Cloud South branch...We are cooperating with local law enforcement and will do whatever we can to assist the authorities in their investigation."

Law enforcement js staging what appears to be an entry team outside Wells Fargo in St. Cloud. St. Cloud Police tells us there are no injuries, and that people should avoid the area. pic.twitter.com/iNrRU1UgAJ

— Erik Newland (@SCTimesErik) May 6, 2021

As of 8:01 pm CDT, Dave Schwarz, a photojournalist for the St. Cloud Times reported via Twitter that a total of four hostages had been released. Over approximately one hour, three women and one man have been released, each time to a flurry of cheers from the gathered crowds. Schwarz said at least one of them "appeared to be an employee" but we don't have confirmation of that. There is still no word on the exact negotiations taking place, or who the suspected perpetrator may be.

Woman just exited, fourth total now.

— Dave Schwarz (@dschwarzphoto) May 7, 2021

As of 6:38 CDT Danny Spawek, a reporter for KARE 11 in the Twin Cities, posted on Twitter that at least one person had been helped out of the building by police and that more police had entered the building. There is still no information regarding the negotiations with the suspect.

Police helped at least one person out of the building -- it appears teams of law enforcement have now also entered the building at the same time. No update yet on negotiations with the suspect. https://t.co/gcvyDNO0Fl

— Danny Spewak (@DannySpewak) May 6, 2021

St. Cloud Times journalists who were on the scene earlier reported squad cars from both St. Cloud and Sauk Rapids police, as well as Stearns County Sheriff's Office vehicles and armored cars, in addition to the FBI presence. Craig Besco, a journalist for KARE 11 News reported that as of around 5:30 p.m. local time, he could see "a good 40 to 50" law enforcement cars in the parking lot.

Besco reported that as of 5:30 CDT, he had not yet seen anyone go in or out of the building which was roughly three and a half hours after the initial silent alarm was rung earlier in the afternoon.

bank robbery, police tape
Police tape, bank robbery Getty/DASRIL ROSZANDI

Spawek also posted on Twitter at 5:47 p.m. local time that "A huge crowd has gathered outside the Wells Fargo bank in St. Cloud, as police continue to negotiate during the hostage situation." This is despite the fact that nearby parts of 33rd Avenue South have been closed by police because of the investigation. And law enforcement is asking people to stay away, likely for their own safety.

A huge crowd has gathered outside the Wells Fargo bank in St. Cloud, as police continue to negotiate during the hostage situation. @kare11 pic.twitter.com/Hzy2zca8gJ

— Danny Spewak (@DannySpewak) May 6, 2021

There is currently no publicly available information about who the suspected perpetrator may be in this possible robbery-turned hostage situation. But according to statistics released by the FBI, those who attempt to rob banks are overwhelmingly male. In 2019, for instance, there were 929 male bank robbery perpetrators, compared to 74 females.

This is an ongoing, breaking news story and will be updated with information as it becomes available.