Farmington Man And Apple Valley Woman Plead Guilty To Armed Robbery Of Northfield Hotel
MINNEAPOLIS—Yesterday in federal court in St. Paul, a 27-year-old Farmington man and 29-year-old Apple Valley woman pleaded guilty to the armed robbery of America’s Best Value Inn and Suites in Northfield. On April 2, 2013, Eric Wade Forcier pleaded guilty to two counts of interference with commerce by robbery pursuant to the Hobbs Act; one count of using, carrying, possessing and brandishing a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence; and one count of being a felon in possession of a firearm. Julie Ann Campana pleaded guilty to one count of aiding and abetting interference with commerce by robbery. Both were indicted on December 3, 2012, and both pleas were entered before United States District Court Judge Paul A. Magnuson.
In his plea agreement, Forcier admitted that on October 29, 2012, he entered the hotel wearing a Halloween mask, pointed a handgun at the night manager, and demanded money from the cash register and the safe. After receiving $114, he ran outside to an awaiting vehicle. Shortly after the car left the scene, police stopped it and arrested Campana, the driver. Forcier fled from police, discharging his handgun, but was arrested later in the day. Officers recovered items from the vehicle as well as along the path that Forcier took in running from the police. Those items included the Halloween mask and a .32-caliber, semi-automatic pistol.
Forcier also admitted robbing four other businesses. On October 22, 2012, he stole $1,850 from Eddy’s Bar & Grill in Inver Grove Heights. He admittedly entered the bar, pointed a handgun at several employees, and fired it at the ceiling. On October 15, 2012, he stole $60 from an Apple Valley Domino’s Pizza; on October 18, 2012, he stole $154.41 from a Bloomington SuperAmerica; and on October 19, 2012, he stole $200 from an Apple Valley Jiffy Lube.
Because he is a felon, Forcier is prohibited under federal law from possessing firearms at any time. His prior Dakota County convictions include second-degree drug possession (2008), possession of stolen property (2008), two counts of fifth-degree drug possession (2007), and fleeing police in a motor vehicle (2007).
In her plea agreement, Campana admitted she was the lookout and get-away driver for Forcier on October 29. Campana also admitted that before the robbery, she asked the hotel’s night manager several questions about the hotel’s nighttime operations. In addition, Campana was admittedly Forcier’s get-away driver for the robberies at Eddy’s, SuperAmerica, and Domino’s.
For his crimes, Forcier faces a potential maximum penalty of 20 years in prison on each of the two robbery counts; life in prison for brandishing a firearm; and ten years in prison for being a felon in possession of a firearm. Campana faces a potential maximum penalty of 20 years in prison. Judge Magnuson will determine their sentences at a future hearing, yet to be scheduled.
The Hobbs Act, passed by Congress in 1946, allows federal prosecutors to prosecute individuals who commit armed robberies of businesses engaged in interstate commerce.
This case is the result of an investigation by the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; the Dakota County Sheriff’s Office; the Rice County Sheriff’s Office; and the police departments of Apple Valley, Bloomington, Inver Grove Heights and Northfield. It is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Amber M. Brennan and Allen A. Slaughter.