ST. CLOUD, Minn. – Several bank employees are held hostage in a Wells Fargo bank and police are trying to negotiate their release with the help of the FBI.
The negotiators worked late into the evening – six hours after the stalemate – to free all of the hostages. At least three of the detainees had been released as of 8:00 p.m. CT.
A local television reporter posted a video Thursday night of the release of a female hostage waiting for armed police officers on the bank’s doorstep. Someone inside also hurls what looks like a wad of cash out the door, and the bills float in the air for a few seconds.
A short time later, another video by the same reporter showed a second female hostage being released and taken to the bank. Another video about 30 minutes later showed a third hostage walking from the bank to the police.
Several dozen people watch the spectacle on the bank from a safe distance. Many cheered when the two hostages were released.
St. Cloud Police are negotiating with a suspect to release all staff, Lt. Lori Ellering in a press release. The number of bank employees held hostage was unknown.
There have been no reports of injuries, but the police and the FBI are working with SWAT teams to monitor the bank.
“We can confirm a hostage situation at Wells Fargo’s St. Cloud South branch at 200 33rd Avenue South,” said Wells Fargo spokesman Staci Schiller. “We are working with local law enforcement agencies and will do everything we can to assist the authorities.” in their investigation.
“We recognize this is a traumatic moment for the community and our colleagues. The safety of our customers and employees is our top priority.”
The city is about 65 miles northwest of Minneapolis.
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According to police, the police became on Thursday afternoon a report of a possible robbery at Wells Fargo Bank at 200-33rd Ave. S sent to St. Cloud.
The FBI is helping with the investigation and people are being asked to avoid the area.
Local journalists report on armored vehicles and patrol cars used by the St. Cloud, Sartell and Sauk Rapids Police, the Stearns County’s Sheriff’s Office.