Columbia Heights man charged in Fridley bank robbery

Minnesota law calls for a sentence of up to 15 years in prison if convicted on the charge, however, sentencing guidelines indicate Morgan could receive a stayed sentence and probation.

A Columbia Heights man has been charged with robbery after implying he had a gun and absconding with less than $100 from a Fridley bank on Wednesday.

According to charging documents filed in Anoka County on Thursday, George Earl Morgan IV entered the TCF bank on the 5200 block of Central Avenue Northeast in Fridley, Minnesota, and displayed a note to the teller demanding money.

“This is a robbery. We have guns. No die (sic) packs. Give me all the money in the drawer,” the note said, according to the complaint.

The teller gave the male all the cash in the drawer and later told police she thought it was about $100. The suspect gestured for more money, but the teller told him she didn’t have any more in the till. Another teller heard the exchange and pushed the emergency panic button. The suspect left out the door and walked behind a nearby auto parts store.

When police arrived, the tellers described the male as white, in his late 20s, wearing a black cloth mask with facial hair sticking out the sides, a baseball cap, sweatshirt and sweatpants that were very baggy. They told police that the suspect was given $100 in twenties, ones and two-dollar bills and that three of the bills were “bait bills.”

Within several minutes, police located a suspect matching the description on the 5000 block of Central Avenue Northeast and identified him as Morgan.

Morgan had used one of the bait bills at a convenience store and still had two of the remaining bait bills in his possession. In total, police recovered $78. Following the apprehension, a witness told police that the male was wearing the same mask and shoes as the robbery suspect, but that his top was different and his pants were baggier.

Police used a K9 to search the area behind the auto parts store and located a hat and sweatshirt in the dumpster which appeared to have been worn by Morgan during the robbery.

Morgan, 31, has been charged with one felony count of second-degree aggravated robbery.

Minnesota law calls for a sentence of up to 15 years in prison if convicted on the charge, however, sentencing guidelines indicate Morgan could receive a stayed sentence and probation.

A search of Minnesota court records indicates Morgan has several prior misdemeanor traffic and driving related convictions, as well as a misdemeanor conviction for theft by swindle. Morgan does not appear to have any prior felony convictions in Minnesota, which means he would have a zero or low criminal history score making him eligible for a presumptive stayed sentence under the guidelines, if convicted on the charge.

Morgan remains in custody without bail and is scheduled to make his first court appearance on Friday.

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