Man arrested after allegedly attempting to rob Albert Lea hotels

Published 9:51 am Monday, May 12, 2014

A 52-year-old Wisconsin man was arrested Friday morning after attempted robberies at two hotels in Albert Lea.

No one was injured.

The man, Armando Gonzales, allegedly brandished a handgun at an employee at the Midwestern Inn, 2301 E. Main St., before 5 a.m. while demanding keys to a vehicle. The employee locked herself in an office, and Gonzales left without taking a vehicle, according to police.

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The man was found to be a registered guest at the hotel, but when officers checked his room it was empty.

At 6:52 a.m., officers were dispatched across East Main Street to America’s Best Value Inn, 2306 E. Main St., for another report of an attempted robbery with a handgun.

Police Lt. Darren Hanson said Gonzales alleged threatened a guest at the hotel to give him keys to a vehicle but did not brandish the gun. While Gonzales attempted to start a car, the victim reportedly retreated to his room.

Gonzales then took off on foot. The Albert Lea Police Department, Freeborn County Sheriff’s Office and the Minnesota State Patrol searched the area for the suspect.

Thanks to a citizen tip, authorities found the man near the intersection of Southeast Marshall Street and Blake Avenue. He was arrested at about 7:30 a.m.

Gonzales is facing charges of aggravated robbery, attempted motor vehicle theft, tampering with a motor vehicle and theft.

Hanson said Gonzales had not checked in with his Department of Corrections agent in Wisconsin since November.