A man who allegedly participated in the Jan. 15 Premier Bank in Northfield robbery now faces a federal charge in connection with the alleged incident.

Deandre Dontal McGowan was charged with bank robbery April 3 in U.S. District Court in Minnesota.

Deandre McGowan

McGowan

He had already faced charges in Rice County District Court in connection with the incident, including a single count of armed robbery and four counts of assault with a dangerous weapon, one for each person at Premier Bank at the time of the robbery.

Federal court documents state McGowan was charged after a black male with a black handgun in his right hand pointed the weapon at three bank employees and a customer during the robbery.

A second black male, who was later described as sharing physical characteristics with McGowan, then allegedly entered the bank through the front door. That suspect reportedly approached the teller station, unzipped his backpack and removed a nylon cable tie, using that to secure the hands of the customer.

The backpack was allegedly handed to a bank employee, who entered the bank vault and handed the backpack back to the second suspect. The suspects then exited the bank on foot.

Court documents state a subsequent audit of Premier Bank found the robbers took approximately $11,526 in bank funds, comprised primarily of $100 bills. The deposits were insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. at the time of the incident, a reason why federal charges were filed.

It was the second time in three months and third time in three years the Fifth Street bank had been robbed.

A purse and cell phone belonging to a teller was later found on the north side of Hwy. 19 near Northfield’s western edge.

Court documents state law enforcement reviewed recorded video surveillance from nearby businesses, discovering a black Pontiac Grand Prix with dark rims and tinted windows circling the area around the bank several times before the robbery.

Video surveillance from Minnesota Department of Transportation cameras reportedly showed the Grand Prix traveling north on I-35 and onto I-494. The vehicle then exited to eastbound I-494 at Portland Avenue in Bloomington, less than 1 mile from the location later identified as McGowan’s residence.

Lakeville police investigating a Dec. 22 bank robbery in that city recognized the description of the Grand Prix, which a witness reported as having a similar license number to the vehicle. The Grand Prix was later found to be registered to McGowan’s mother.

Bloomington-based Southgate Apartments management reported that the car was driven by McGowan. The apartment was in the process of evicting McGowan due to past due rent. Court documents state McGowan provided the apartment complex with an approximately $3,517 check to pay the rent the same day of the robbery.

Northfield police obtained and executed search warrants Jan. 16 at McGowan’s apartment, recovering $629 in cash from McGowan in the search, along with additional cash elsewhere in the apartment. Court documents state that along with the money, a black backpack containing cable ties and appearing similar to the backpack carried by the second suspect during the robbery was found.

An analysis of McGowan’s phone reportedly found he had searched the internet for Premier Bank in Northfield, and he had viewed a news article on the robbery.

Items both suspects were described as wearing during the robbery were allegedly found in the trunk of the Grand Prix during a search, along with a purse taken from a teller containing a handwritten note on the stationery of Premier Bank.

Rice County Attorney John Fossum said McGowan faces a presumptive sentence of approximately 15 years if convicted at the federal level, longer than the expected six- to eight-year prison term he faces locally.

Fossum anticipates Rice County deciding whether to dismiss local charges against McGowan by next month.

McGowan is being held in Sherburne County jail.

The other suspect is considered still at-large.

Reach Associate Editor Sam Wilmes at 507-645-1115.

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