Apple Valley woman gets three years prison for role in hotel robbery

Julie Ann Campana
Julie Ann Campana

An Apple Valley woman was sentenced in federal court last week to three years in prison for her role in the October 2012 armed robbery of a Northfield hotel.

Julie Ann Campana, 23, pleaded guilty in April to aiding and abetting a robbery. She admitted in her plea agreement that she was the lookout and getaway driver in the late-night robbery that saw her accomplice, 27-year-old Eric Wade Forcier of Farmington, enter the America’s Best Value Inn wearing a Halloween mask, point a handgun at the night manager and demand money from the cash register and safe.

Forcier made off with $114 in the heist, and Campana, who has been 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 fled the scene, reportedly firing several shots from a .32-caliber 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 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 just blocks from the America’s Best Value Inn and was taken into custody there without further incident.

Forcier was sentenced July 17 to 20 years prison after pleading guilty in April to a host of criminal charges.

In his plea agreement, Forcier also admitted robbing four other businesses in October 2012 – a Domino’s Pizza in Apple Valley on Oct. 15; a Bloomington SuperAmerica on Oct. 18; Jiffy Lube in Apple Valley on Oct. 19; and Eddy’s Bar & Grill in Inver Grove Heights on Oct. 22.

During the incident at Eddy’s Bar & Grill, Forcier pointed a handgun at several employees, fired the gun at the ceiling and stole $1,850.

Campana admitted serving as getaway driver for the robberies at Domino’s, SuperAmerica and Eddy’s, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.