Man arrested in spree of bank robberies in Minnesota, Wisconsin

Minneapolis Police said Tuesday they have arrested a man believed to be responsible for a spree of bank robberies across Minnesota and Wisconsin, including two in Minneapolis for which he has been charged. 

William Manuel Villanueva, 37, has been charged with two counts of second-degree aggravated robbery in connection with bank robberies that occurred in Minneapolis on Aug. 12 at the Wells Fargo on the 4900 block of 34th Avenue South and on Aug. 24 at the Wells Fargo on the 4700 block of Chicago Avenue South. 

According to the charges, the tellers in both robberies told police Villanueva approached their station and handed them a note that said he had a gun and demanded money. 

During the investigation, officers learned of five other bank robberies all with the same mode of operation and suspect description as the two Minneapolis incidents. The robberies occurred at banks in White Bear Lake, St. Anthony, North Branch and Alexandria in Minnesota and in Roberts, Wisconsin. 

Officers circulated images of the bank robberies to the public, after which they received several calls from Villanueva’s family members identifying him as the suspect in the robberies. 

Scott County law enforcement arrested Villanueva on Sept. 6. At the time of his arrest, he was driving a 2014 Ford Fusion belonging to his girlfriend, believed to be his accomplice in the robberies. 

While executing a search warrant on the Ford Fusion, officers found two notebooks with pages torn out. The remaining pages had readable pen impressions that matched the language used in the demand notes in the bank robberies. 

Officers located and interviewed Villanueva’s girlfriend, who admitted to being involved in all seven robberies with him.  

In an interview with police after his arrest, Villanueva admitted to committing all seven of the bank robberies, but said his girlfriend wrote the demand notes. 

Villanueva is currently in custody in Chisago County.