Apple Valley woman charged in armed robbery of hotel

Julie Ann Campana

An Apple Valley woman is one of two suspects charged in federal court last week with the October armed robbery of a Northfield hotel.

Julie Ann Campana, 23, is accused of robbing the America’s Best Value Inn in Northfield with accomplice Eric Wade Forcier, 27, of Farmington, on Oct. 29.

According to the criminal complaint, Campana and Forcier used a .32-caliber pistol during the robbery and took approximately $100 in cash along with three cordless phones.

The Northfield News reported that Forcier entered the hotel wearing a black ski mask at about 2:45 a.m. Oct. 29 and robbed a hotel employee with a handgun.

Police say Campana, who was identified in media accounts as Forcier’s ex-girlfriend, was the driver of the Pontiac Grand Prix that police stopped about 15 minutes after the robbery.

While Campana was arrested without incident in the traffic stop, Forcier allegedly fled the scene, firing several shots from a handgun at a Minnesota State Patrol trooper and a Rice County sheriff’s deputy.

This prompted a massive hours-long search by law enforcement that included a Minnesota State Patrol helicopter, 12 area SWAT teams and members of the Dakota and Rice county sheriff’s offices.

Forcier was eventually found hiding in the bed of a pickup truck in a parking lot just blocks from the America’s Best Value Inn. He was taken into custody there without further incident.

Campana and Forcier have each been charged with one count of interference with commerce by robbery and one count of using a firearm during a crime of violence. Forcier also is charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm.

Forcier has previous convictions for drug possession, fleeing police in a motor vehicle and possession of stolen property. Campana has a previous conviction for driving under the influence, a misdemeanor.

Campana faces a maximum penalty of 27 years in federal prison if convicted of both charges. Forcier faces a maximum of 37 years in prison if convicted of all three charges.

The case is being prosecuted by Amber M. Brennan and Allen A. Slaughter of the U.S. Attorney’s Office.