Charges: St. Cloud bank robber wanted to 'go viral,' become 'a martyr'

Police were in a standoff with him at the Wells Fargo bank for more than 8 hours.
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Ray McNeary

The 35-year-old suspected bank robber in St. Cloud allegedly wanted to become "a martyr" and put on a "big show" to attract the FBI and media, according to criminal charges filed in Stearns County District Court

Ray Reco McNeary, of Waite Park, entered the Wells Fargo bank at 200 33rd Avenue South in St. Cloud on the afternoon of Thursday, May 6, and became upset with the bank manager about alleged fraud on his account, the charges say.

According to the criminal complaint, the manager brought McNeary into his office in an attempt to help him, but after failing to find an account in McNeary's name, McNeary become more agitated – to the point that the bank manager called 911 at 1:48 p.m.

The manager also hit a silent alarm button in his office, prompting a report that the bank was being robbed. 

McNeary then pressed a hard object against the manager's back and demanded cash. The manager obliged by filling a bag with a "large amount of cash" from the bank vault, the charges say. McNeary allegedly grabbed the manager's wrist so hard that it caused his watch to cut into his skin. 

McNeary, who also demanded to speak to the FBI, is accused of threatening harm on the hostages, telling them that he wanted a "big show" and that he'd take the hostages "with him." The criminal complaint says McNeary wanted to "go viral" and become "a martyr." 

During the standoff with police, McNeary destroyed the employees' cellphones, though the fifth hostage he eventually gained control over had been communicating with law enforcement while hiding in a separate office inside the bank. 

McNeary was threatening to use the bank manager as a shield, saying they would "die together." He also used the hostages' social media accounts to record videos of him threatening to kill the bank employees or himself, or force police to kill him. 

At 7:09 p.m., nearly six hours into the hostage situation, an employee made a run for it and was able to "push past him and get out" of the bank. Another hostage was allowed to leave due to a medical problem, while McNeary later allowed third and fourth hostages to leave. 

At 10:30 p.m., negotiators were able to let the bank manager know that police teams and the FBI were outside the front door of the bank, where they were preparing to enter. The manager ran for the door just as police were entering, providing the manager protection. 

The law enforcement teams then arrested McNeary without further incident, according to the complaint. 

McNeary has been charged with one count of first-degree aggravated robbery and six counts of using a dangerous weapon to facilitate kidnapping. He was not in possession of a gun, according to the complaint. 

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