BLAINE, Minn. - Police searched the Anoka County Blaine Airport several hours Monday afternoon for murder suspect Ty Hoffman. They focused the manhunt Monday evening on a residential area near 89th Avenue N.E. and Jefferson Avenue N.E. in Blaine.
That's just blocks away from where a man matching Hoffman's description robbed a TCF Bank branch on Sunday. By Monday afternoon, investigators said they had reason to believe Hoffman was the bank robber.
"It tells us one thing – he hasn't left the area," Ramsey County Chief Deputy John Kirkwood told reporters. "He hasn't left the country or anything else that we think might have happened."
Kirkwood said Hoffman wasn't immediately tied to the TCF robbery, but detectives at the Blaine police departments looked at the similarities between the hold-up man and Hoffman's wanted poster photos and connected the dots.
They began the extensive air and ground search at the same airport they searched three weeks ago, because Hoffman has taken flying lessons there and has other connections to that airport.
"We had ample number of officers and deputies out here working in teams, checking buildings, if we found an open one, open door, then we concentrated on that one," Kirkwood explained.
Authorities search Blaine Airport for Ty Hoffman
Hoffman is the subject of a nationwide arrest warrant after being charged with gunning down his former partner Kelly Phillips at a convenience store in Arden Hills three weeks ago. Phillips, an attorney and vice president of Boston Scientific, was engaged to be married to Nathon Bailey at the time of his slaying.
The search Monday came up empty, but investigators are hopeful that the renewed attention to the case will re-engage the public in the effort to find him. Still, Hoffman should not be approached, they warned.
"He's named as a suspect in the Arden Hills homicide from three weeks ago and he's a suspect in our armed robbery of a bank in the city of Blaine," Blaine Police Chief Chris Olson told KARE.
"We just hope people call 911, and don't confront him, and let law enforcement come out and we'll check it out."
Police also asked store clerks to be on the lookout for currency with red ink on it, because a red dye pack was placed inside the bag of money handed to the robbery suspect at TCF.
Former Minneapolis City Council member Gary Schiff, speaking on behalf of the Kelly Phillips family, held a press conference Monday afternoon reminding the public there's still a $25,000 reward for information leading to Hoffman's arrest.
"The fact that this has happened so close to home I think has shocked many of us, because we thought perhaps he was far away by now," Schiff said.
"We've seen what Ty Hoffman is capable of and we want this to come to a conclusion." without any further violence or danger to the community."
RELATED: Ty Hoffman wanted poster
On Sunday at approximately 2 p.m. officers responded to a bank robbery at the TCF Bank at 331 County Road 10 NE in Blaine. A white male wearing a white t-shirt, baseball cap, sunglasses and a beard displayed a handgun and demanded money.
The man left with an undisclosed amount of money. Authorities searched the area but the man was not found. The police believe that the man and the money may have been tainted with red dye.
Surveillance footage shows a man who appears to match the description of Ty Hoffman. Hoffman has been charged with the murder of Kelly Phillips at an Arden Hills gas station on August 11.
The man in the video footage is considered armed and dangerous and may still be in the area. Anyone with information related to the bank robbery or the location of Ty Hoffman should call 911.
To share a tip anonymously call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS.