Thursday, October 16, 2003
Trial set in armed robbery
By Julie Shehane-Bannink, News staff reporter
A jury trial will get underway early next month for an armed robbery suspect, who eluded authorities for nearly eight months. Testimony is set to begin Nov. 5 for Rebecca Camille Keller, 51, of River Falls, who is charged with felony robbery with threat of force. Prosecutors allege Keller robbed a convenience store in Cylon Township at gun point in December 2002. The store, then known as Auto Stop, is located at the intersection of Hwys. 64/63 and 46 - commonly referred to as the Four Corners. Keller has pled not guilty to the charge.
Sheriffs deputies arrested Keller this past July after executing a search warrant at her home. Items confiscated at and near the residence include two pistol-type BB guns and a bank bag similar to the one used to carry $997 away from the convenience store. Investigators caught up with Keller after receiving a tip from one of the store clerks on duty the night of the robbery. The former clerk, who now works at a New Richmond financial institution, called deputies after waiting on Keller, saying she recognized her voice from the robbery. Prior to the tip, authorities had been searching for a man in connection with the robbery. But after reviewing both the bank tape and a surveillance tape taken at the convenience store at the time of the robbery, investigators saw similarities and began looking into Keller.
The criminal complaint alleges Keller pumped gas at the store at about 8:15 on Dec. 13, entered the store and used the restroom before approaching the counter and displaying a silver and black handgun to two clerks on duty. Reports allege Keller then instructed one of the clerks to empty both cash registers into a black bag before fleeing the store in a late model S.U.V. In a statement to deputies after her arrest, Keller acknowledged robbing the store to pay gambling debts.
Keller is currently free on a $25,000 signature bond that includes a $2,000 cash bond. Terms of her release call for her to report to the Dunn County Jail every Tuesday and Friday, pending the outcome of the charge against her. If convicted, Keller, who also lists a Sand Creek address on her records, could face up to 60 years in prison.
St. Croix County Circuit Judge Edward F. Vlack will hear the case. Assistant District Attorney Frank Collins will represent the state. Howard Cameron is representing Keller.