Search for Ty Hoffman near Mystic Lake Casino comes up empty - FOX 35 News Orlando

Search for Ty Hoffman near Mystic Lake Casino comes up empty

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Police believe Ty Hoffman may have been picked up by a Chevy Trailblazer SUV near Mystic Lake Casino Police believe Ty Hoffman may have been picked up by a Chevy Trailblazer SUV near Mystic Lake Casino
PRIOR LAKE, Minn. (KMSP) -

The search for Ty Hoffman shifted from Blaine, Minn. to Prior Lake, Minn. after a possible sighting of the fugitive murder suspect inside Mystic Lake Casino. Police still believe Hoffman was in Blaine on Tuesday, and likely took a bus to Mystic Lake Casino, where there appears to have been numerous sightings of him.

“For lack of a better term he's been very lucky,” said Ramsey County Deputy Chief John Kirkwood. “We've followed up on every lead we can and he's just been somewhat lucky at this point.”

The murder

Hoffman is wanted in the Aug. 11 murder of Lush Food Bar co-founder Kelly Phillips in Arden Hills, Minn. He's been a wanted fugitive ever since the shooting, but the search heated up this week following a Sunday robbery at TCF Bank in Blaine, Minn. that was committed by a man matching his description. Friends of Hoffman who have seen a bank surveillance photo say he was the one behind the robbery.

Mystic Lake sighting

Deputy Chief Kirkwood said Hoffman was possibly spotted inside Mystic Lake Casino sometime Tuesday night. Surveillance was set up and a search was underway first thing Wednesday morning. Almost immediately, police believe they actually spotted him in a wooded area.

“As soon as it started somebody had seen an individual who had been bedded down in the weeds get up and start to run,” Kirkwood said. “He was wearing a ball cap, he was told to stop, but he was able to get in some brush and get away.”

About an hour after the search began, a call came in that a man who matched Ty Hoffman's description was picked up in a silver or beige Chevy Trailblazer SUV near The Wilds Golf Club. But after broadcasting a photo of the SUV, the vehicle's owner quickly made contact with police, who confirmed there was no connection to Hoffman.

Unanswered questions

A few questions police were not able to answer Wednesday: Was Hoffman caught on casino surveillance cameras? Was he actually gambling?

Find Ty Hoffman

Ty Hoffman is described as having short brown hair, hazel eyes and a large build at 6'2 and 230 pounds. He enjoys playing blackjack and has visited Las Vegas and Minnesota casinos extensively. Hoffman is considered armed and dangerous and should not be approached. If you have information related to the bank robbery or the location of Hoffman, call 911 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS.

Statement from friends of Kelly Phillips

“Kelly's friends and family are understandably frustrated that Ty Hoffman has not been captured. We do know, however, that the net is quickly tightening around both him and anyone who may be aiding him. We ask the public to closely examine photos of Ty shown in the media, to be on the lookout for him and to immediately call 911 if you think you may have seen him. Remember that he is considered armed and very dangerous, so take utmost care in any encounter with him. We also remind the public that there is a growing reward for information regarding this case. We thank law enforcement for everything they are doing to bring this matter to a safe end.”

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