SHAKOPEE, Minn. (WCCO) – Hotel employees in Shakopee believe a wanted fugitive was in their building just moments after he was spotted at Mystic Lake Casino.
Police have been searching for Ty Hoffman ever since the murder of his former boyfriend, Kelly Phillips, nearly four weeks ago.READ MORE: Linda Johnson, 66, Identified As Victim In St. Paul Beating Death
More recently, police believe Hoffman robbed a bank in Blaine.
There was a massive search earlier this week after Hoffman was spotted at Mystic Lake.
Police believe someone is helping him avoid being caught.
Just moments after Hoffman was spotted at Mystic Lake Casino on Tuesday, employees at the America’s Best Value Inn and Suites down the road believe they saw him inside their hotel.
“We do believe there was the suspect and another individual walking through the hotel corridor,” Americas Best Value Inn and Suites manager, Laura Ellingson, said.
Ellingson says Hoffman wasn’t alone when he paid for his drinks at the hotel bar using a $20 bill, which was covered in red dye.
Hoffman is suspected of robbing a bank in Blaine last Sunday. The stolen cash would likely be stained with a red dye pack the bank used when handing over the money.
“That’s where our bartender said this doesn’t look quite right.”READ MORE: Domestic Assault Suspect Fled St. Cloud Police, Threatened Officers With Sword, Knife
Ellingson says Hoffman then tried to get change for the bills at the hotel front desk.
Management contacted police immediately, and the massive search for Hoffman began.
“Authorities did go into a room where they thought the suspect was, and it lead them to a dead end,” Ellingson said.
The coordinated search in Prior Lake went into Wednesday with no luck finding Hoffman.
Since then employees have posted police photos of the fugitive around the hotel and upped their security.
The reward for information leading to Hoffman’s arrest is now $25,000.
“When you’re in a small community and you work together, you want to make sure that everybody is on the same page,” Ellingson said.
Employees also told WCCO that there was a cab driver who thought he had given Hoffman a ride from the casino to the hotel.
So far, police have said the surveillance video from the hotel is difficult to use as evidence, as it isn’t very clear video.MORE NEWS: 3 Killed In Weekend Crash In Western Wisconsin
If you have any information on Ty Hoffman’s whereabouts, you should call 911.