MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – A 37-year-old man has been charged with two counts of second-degree aggravated robbery in connection with a spree of bank robberies.
William Manuel Villanueva was initially arrested for two robberies in Minneapolis. During the investigation, authorities learned of several other banks robbed under similar circumstances with a description matching Villanueva. Last week, investigators say Villanueva admitted to committing the crimes.
According to charging documents, officers responded to Wells Fargo Bank on 34th Avenue South in Minneapolis to investigate a bank robbery. A teller told police a man, later identified as Villanueva, approached her counter and handed her a note demanding 50 and 100 dollar bills and no dye packs. The note also said, “I have a gun but don’t want to use it.”
The manager then handed him more than $2,500, kept the demand note and Villanueva left with the money.
In a similar incident on Aug. 24, officers were dispatched to Wells Fargo Bank on Chicago Avenue South in Minneapolis. A teller told police a man identified as Villanueva gave a note stating, “I have a gun, if you don’t give me the money I will hurt someone.”
The teller gave Villanueva nearly $700 and he left the bank.
After police circulated still images from the bank robberies to the public, multiple members of Villanueva’s family identified him as the robber.
A search warrant looking for cellphones active at the time of the crimes found two phones that were common in place and time with three of the robberies. One was linked to Villanueva, and the other was linked to his girlfriend, who police identified as an accomplice.
During a search of her vehicle, police found notebooks with pen impressions of a bank demand note. She later detailed to investigators her role in each robbery, including who drove her vehicle, where they parked and what Villanueva was wearing.
Other robberies associated with Villanueva include Mid-West One Bank in White Bear Lake on Aug. 19; Citizens State Bank in Roberts, Wisconsin, on Aug. 22; Wells Fargo Bank in St. Anthony on Aug. 26; Associated Bank in North Branch on Aug. 26 and Affinity Plus Federal Credit Union in Alexandria on Aug. 29.