Two Twin Cities men are in custody and facing felony charges following a Tuesday morning bank robbery in Lino Lakes after six law enforcement agencies helped track and locate their vehicle in Roseville through the use of a tracking device hidden in the stolen money, according to charges filed on Wednesday.
Just after 9 a.m. on Tuesday, the Lino Lakes Public Safety Department was dispatched to a report of an armed robbery at the US Bank location at 7984 Lake Drive. According to a post on their Facebook page, police from several other jurisdictions assisted and they eventually tracked the suspects to the 1200 block of Larpenteur Avenue West in Roseville through the use of a tracking device that had been placed in the money. Recorded police dispatch audio from the time of the incident indicated that the vehicle was located in Roseville about 9:45 a.m.
The criminal complaints filed on Wednesday in Anoka County identify the two men as Davontay DeWayne Mitchell, 28, of Roseville and Richard Van Tran, 28, of Maplewood.
The identical complaints state that bank employees told officers that a black man roughly 6 feet tall with a white bandana over his face entered the location and said, “this is a robbery” and pulled out a black handgun. The man demanded money and threatened to use the gun if the alarm was activated. The suspect fled with approximately $77,000.
A tracking device was hidden in the money and officers were able to track the vehicle to the Roseville location where the driver, identified at Tran, and the suspect, subsequently identified as Mitchell, were arrested. After obtaining a search warrant for the vehicle, officers found $77,177, a black pistol and handwritten directions to the bank location on Lake Drive.
In a post-arrest interview, Mitchell admitted that he robbed the bank and that Tran was the getaway driver. He told police that he “racked a round” when he entered the bank, so he knew the gun was loaded, and he said that he jumped on the counter so employees “would know he was serious.”
Mitchell also told police that he’d been planning the robbery for about a month and that he picked the Lino Lakes bank location because it was in a “small, rural town.” Mitchell said he researched the layout of the bank and surrounding streets online and told police “it was as easy as he thought it was going to be.”
Tran was told about the robbery plan a week or two prior and had agreed to be the getaway driver, Mitchell told police. Mitchell reported that he gave Tran $10,000 following the robbery, the complaint states.
Tran was not questioned because he requested an attorney, but later made spontaneous remarks to police stating that he “was not in any bank, “I regret everything,” and “it was foolish.”
Mitchell has been charged with one felony count of first-degree aggravated robbery and Tran has been charged with one felony count of first-degree aggravated robbery and one felony count of conspiracy to commit first-degree aggravated robbery. The complaint states that the maximum sentence for each count is up to 20 years in prison.
Neither suspect appears to have any prior felony convictions listed in Minnesota, meaning they have a zero or low criminal history score for sentencing purposes if convicted on the new charges. The Minnesota Sentencing Guidelines Grid calls for a sentence between 41 and 57 months on that level of crime with a zero criminal history score.
Both suspects made their first court appearances on Thursday and remain in custody in Anoka County Jail. Bail is set at $150,000 for Mitchell and $100,000 for Tran. Court records have not been updated with attorney information at this time. Mitchell is scheduled for his next hearing on March 10 and for Tran on Feb. 27.
The Lino Lakes Public Safety Department Facebook post listed the Roseville Police Department, the Minnesota State Patrol, the Centennial Lakes Police Department, the Blaine Police Department and the Ramsey County Sheriff’s Office as assisting in tracking and locating the vehicle following the robbery.
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