Charges for suspect in St. Cloud bank hostage stand-off; records show violent history

In March of this year, McNeary was charged with two felony counts in a new domestic assault case in Stearns County involving yet another female victim.

Ray Reco MnNeary/Stearns County Jail

The suspect now charged with holding five people hostage at a St. Cloud bank on Thursday has convictions for other violent offenses and was just released from jail after recently being charged with another violent crime.

Ray Reco McNeary, 35, held law enforcement at bay for over eight hours last Thursday inside a Wells Fargo bank in St. Cloud, Minn., while holding five bank employees hostage.

Charges say the saga began just before 2 p.m. on Thursday when police were dispatched to a report of a bank robbery in progress at the Wells Fargo bank, located at 200 33rd Avenue South in St. Cloud.

McNeary had entered the bank and was upset about alleged fraud on his account. The bank manager brought McNeary into his office and failed to find an account, which upset McNeary even more, the charges say. Shortly thereafter, the bank manager pushed a silent panic alarm notifying police that the bank was being held up.

McNeary physically forced the bank manager toward the vault and the bank manager later told police that he felt an object pressed into his back. A large amount of cash was placed in a bag and given to McNeary, and McNeary told the bank manager and others present that he was going to harm them. McNeary told the victims that he wanted a “big show” with the FBI and lots of media, and that he’d take the victims “with him.” The charges state that McNeary expressed that he wanted to “go viral” and be a “martyr.”

The FBI and SWAT officers responded and negotiations with McNeary went on for several hours, during which McNeary told both law enforcement and the hostages that he intended to kill the hostages and himself or force police to kill him.

Just after 7 p.m., one female hostage made a break for the door and escaped from the bank. A short time later, McNeary allowed another female hostage to leave because she was experiencing medical issues. Two other hostages were eventually allowed to leave the bank and the last one was released around 10:30 p.m. At that point, law enforcement stormed in and took McNeary into custody.

McNeary, whose address is listed in Waite Park, has been charged with seven felony counts, including: first-degree aggravated robbery, second-degree assault and five counts of kidnapping involving a dangerous weapon.

Criminal history

During a press conference that followed the hostage incident, St. Cloud Police Chief Blair Anderson referred to McNeary and said, “We have had numerous contacts with this individual dating back at least a decade, including violent crime.” Minnesota court records show a conviction history for McNeary dating back to 2007.

Most recently, McNeary was convicted in 2018 in Ramsey County on a charge of felony terroristic threats. Charges in that case state that McNeary’s seven-year-old child fled to a neighbor’s house and said that McNeary was “beating up” her mother and that he’d punched her mother in the head repeatedly. The victim (the child’s mother) eventually told police that McNeary told her he was going to kill her and that he had strangled her while punching her in the face. The victim also told police that McNeary had a prior domestic assault conviction for assaulting her several years prior.

McNeary eventually pleaded guilty to the charge of terroristic threats and was sentenced to one year in prison. However, McNeary was granted a stayed sentence by Judge Timothy Mulrooney and was placed on probation after being given credit for 43 days spent in jail. Another felony charge of domestic assault by strangulation was dismissed at sentencing.

McNeary has another domestic assault conviction in Stearns County from 2017 involving a different victim. In that case, McNeary was accused of punching his girlfriend several times in the head and face and also biting her in the stomach. He was charged with two counts of misdemeanor domestic assault. McNeary eventually pleaded guilty to one count and the other was dismissed. McNeary was ordered to serve only two days of the 90-day sentence in the case by Judge Mary A. Yunker.

In March of this year, McNeary was charged with two felony counts in a new domestic assault case in Stearns County involving yet another female victim. Charges in the new case state that during an argument, McNeary punched the victim in the face twice and grabbed her face and scratched her.

McNeary posted a $10,000 conditional release bond following his initial court appearance in the new domestic assault case. However, McNeary failed to appear at a subsequent remote technology hearing scheduled on April 1, and a warrant was issued for his arrest.

Court records show that McNeary was arrested on the warrant on April 15, but he was again immediately ordered released without posting a new bond amount. The court’s release order shows that McNeary was scheduled to report on May 6 for a weekly compliance hearing, the day of the bank hostage incident.

McNeary remains in custody at Stearns County Jail and is being held without bail at this time. He is scheduled to make his first court appearance on Monday, May 10 on the charges related to the bank hostage incident.

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Minnesota Crime Watch & Information publishes news, info and commentary about crime, public safety and livability issues in Minneapolis, the Twin Cities and Greater Minnesota.