Bank robbery suspect arraigned, tells judge he'd like to be sent home
It was the public recognition of Edward Joseph Lowen that ultimately led to his arrest on armed robbery charges of the Akeley branch bank last weekend.
Numerous tips from residents and others tipped off Hubbard County authorities to his presence in the area less than a week after $2,500 was taken from First National Bank of Walker's branch. They all recognized him from the bank surveillance photos.
Friday noon, Lowen, 53, was arraigned on three felony charges, two counts of Aggravated Robbery and one count of Second Degree Assault, for pointing a loaded weapon at a bank teller.
Lowen spoke to Hubbard County District Judge Paul Rasmussen in a clear voice. He appeared taller than the estimated 5'10" released in early reports and was wearing glasses.
"I've been a homeowner for six years," he said. His last employment as a temporary truck driver was "three to four weeks ago."
"These are serious charges, sir," Rasmussen told Lowen, who requested a court-appointed attorney.
Rasmussen said he could not make that determination until he had more financial information to go on.
"Last year I made $15,000 driving truck and $13,000 on unemploy-ment," Lowen told the judge, explaining his financial circumstances.
He admitted to having a previous charge of violating a protection order, and Hubbard County Attorney Don Dearstyne asked Lowen about a previous theft conviction in 2002 in Ramsey County, but the suspect said he has generally been law-abiding.
Based on the "seriousness of the charges and the threat to public safety," Dearstyne requested $150,000 unconditional bond and $100,000 with conditions.
Rasmussen set bond at $75,000 unconditional and $25,000 with the conditions that Lowen "stay away from the bank involved," possess no firearms, remain in Minnesota and "stay out of trouble, be law-abiding."
Lowen asked if he could instead be sent home.
"I'd like to be released," he told the judge. "I don't have any place to go but home. I'd be willing to check in daily."
Lowen also agreed to surrender all his firearms.
"Hubbard County can go get 'em," he said. "I don't have a problem with that."
Lowen's next appearance is March 8. The First Degree Aggravated Robbery charge carries a maximum penalty of $35,000 and/or 20 years; the Second Degree Robbery charge carries a maximum of 15 years and/or a $30,000 fine and the Assault charge is punishable my a maximum of 7 years and/or a $14,000 fine.
Lowen's mug shot will be released later today. Authorities were going to first conduct a photo lineup with potential witnesses before releasing it.
Dearstyne told the judge there is the potential for federal prosecution in the case which would carry stiffer penalties.