Suspect carried BB gun during attempted robberies; Wisconsin man charged in Albert Lea incidents

Published 10:16am Tuesday, May 13, 2014

The 53-year-old Wisconsin man arrested Friday for attempted robberies at two hotels in Albert Lea was carrying a BB gun when he sought to carjack a motor vehicle, according to court files.

Armando Gonzales allegedly told police he needed a car to return to Texas, according to a court complaint filed Monday in Freeborn County District Court. The gun looked like a semi-automatic pistol but was loaded with BBs and charged, the files state.

Prosecutors charged Gonzales Monday with one count of first-degree attempted aggravated robbery tied to the attempted theft of a maroon 2002 Buick LeSabre in the parking lot of the America’s Best Value Inn. He is expected to receive additional charges Tuesday tied to an alleged robbery at the Midwestern Hotel, across East Main Street from the other hotel, earlier that morning.

Court documents state police were alerted to the attempted robbery at America’s Best Value Inn at 6:53 a.m. Friday. When they arrived, they found that someone had torn apart the Buick’s steering column, and there were droplets of blood on the interior of the driver’s side door.

Police later found Gonzales to be talking to a person at 2417 S.E. Marshall St., carrying two bags.

Court files state Gonzales reportedly admitted to police that he saw an open car and tried to take it.

The owner of the car told police he went out to check on his car at about 6:30 a.m. because he had been having trouble with it. He found Gonzales inside the car ripping up his steering column and said the man showed him a gun and told him he wanted to take the car.

The car owner identified Gonzales in the surveillance video from the hotel.

Attempted aggravated robbery carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $17,500 fine.

Look to the Tribune for more information after Tuesday’s hearing.

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