A possible sighting of fugitive murder suspect Ty Hoffman led to an all day manhunt at the Anoka County-Blaine Airport Tuesday. But after a search that included a SWAT team, helicopter crew, and officers from several jurisdictions, authorities said they did not find the accused murderer and bank robbery suspect.
The Star Tribune reports Blaine Police Chief Chris Olson told reporters Tuesday evening the search was launched after a man resembling Hoffman was spotted by an officer before dawn near the airport.
Authorities established a perimeter around the airport Tuesday, blocking the gates to the runway and temporarily closing a highway exit. While a helicopter crew kept watch from above, a SWAT team combed a wooded area that is part of the airport grounds, reports indicated.
The 44-year-old Hoffman is charged with murdering Boston Scientific executive Kelly Phillips, his former boyfriend and business partner, at an Arden Hills gas station last month. Hoffman has managed to evade capture since then. Authorities said again Tuesday they suspect someone in the area is harboring Hoffman, which would be a felony.
Police also believe it was Hoffman who robbed a Blaine TCF Bank at gunpoint Sunday afternoon. They searched the immediate area after the robbery but didn’t find the suspect. A red dye packet concealed with the money may have stained the money as well as the robber, authorities say. (Hoffman is pictured at the near right. At far right is a surveillance image taken during the bank robbery.)
The Ramsey County Sheriff's Office says Hoffman is considered armed and dangerous, and should not be approached.
Authorities ask anyone who sees Hoffman or anything suspicious in the area of the Anoka County airport contact police at 911 immediately.
Law enforcement officers also spent several hours searching for Hoffman near the airport on Monday without success. WCCO reports they searched the airfield hangar by hangar.
Friends and family of Phillips are offering a reward of $25,000 for any information leading to his arrest. The Ramsey County Sheriff's Office recently issued a revised wanted poster for Hoffman, which reflects the increased reward.
Hoffman and Phillips were business partners and life partners for several years, and together they opened the Lush night club in Minneapolis. Phillips was also an executive at Boston Scientific. Police believe Hoffman killed Phillips after a falling out over the business.