Three charged in Barnum Little Store armed robbery appear in courtThe three defendants accused in an armed robbery of the Barnum Little Store on Tuesday, July 12, appeared in Carlton County Court this week. Joe Martin Proano, 23, of Duluth, Brittany AnneMarie Reilly, 20, also of Duluth, and Edward James O’Brien, 49, of Moose Lake all made their initial appearances for Rule 8 hearings. They all face one felony count of first-degree aggravated robbery and one felony count of second-degree assault with a dangerous weapon. Bail was set at $100,000 bond or $10,000 cash for all of them.
By: Wendy Johnson, Pine Journal
The three defendants accused in an armed robbery of the Barnum Little Store on Tuesday, July 12, appeared in Carlton County Court this week.
Joe Martin Proano, 23, of Duluth, Brittany AnneMarie Reilly, 20, also of Duluth, and Edward James O’Brien, 49, of Moose Lake all made their initial appearances for Rule 8 hearings. They all face one felony count of first-degree aggravated robbery and one felony count of second-degree assault with a dangerous weapon. Bail was set at $100,000 bond or $10,000 cash for all of them.
Proano, represented by public defender Jeremy Downs, appeared before Judge Robert Macaulay on Tuesday and was scheduled to appear next for an omnibus hearing July 27.
Reilly and O’Brien both appeared at 9 a.m. Wednesday before Judge Macaulay.
Public defender Sonia Sturdevant, who is representing Reilly, requested the judge reconsider the bail amount set for Reilly. In defense of her request, Sturdevant pointed out that Reilly is a first-time offender, has lived in the area all her life and has children at home and a supportive family.
Assistant Carlton County Attorney Nichole Carter argued, however, that given the severity of Reilly’s offense, the bail amount should remain at where it was originally set.
Judge Macaulay denied Sturdevant’s request to lower Reilly’s bail.
Sturdevant also asked that the judge consider ordering a second pre-trial release study, pointing out the first one yielded unfavorable results since Reilly’s children are currently under a CHIPS order (Children In Protective Services). Sturdevant said that Reilly now has an opportunity to stay with other members of her family and would like to be reconsidered for pre-trial release. Carter said she has no objection to a second pre-trial release study, and Macaulay granted the request.
Reilly is now set for a non-testimonial omnibus hearing July 27.
O’Brien’s attorney, Joanna Weigert, requested her client be granted an omnibus hearing within the mandated 28-day threshold and asked that Judge Macaulay reconsider his bail amount in the meantime. She stated his parents are currently reviewing their options to post cash bail on his behalf, but they currently only have the resources to come up with $3,000. She asked that his bail be reduced to $30,000 or $3,000 cash.
Carter opposed any changes in O’Brien’s bail amount, stating he has a long history of criminal activity and probation violations dating back as far as 1983.
“His track record shows he does not do well on probation,” said Carter.
Judge Macaulay denied the request for an adjustment to O’Brien’s bail amount and set the time and date for O’Brien’s next court appearance for Aug. 10.
According to the complaint filed in the incident, deputies responded to a report of an armed robbery at the Barnum Little Store at 4:37 a.m. Tuesday, July 12, phoned in by the clerk at the convenience store. The clerk stated that he was cashing the till when he looked up to see a man with short dark hair wearing a blue bandana over his face had entered the store with a long gun. The clerk said the man threw a bag at him and demanded cash and cigarettes and fled the store on foot. Only a small amount of cash was taken, along with eight to nine cartons of cigarettes.
As Carlton County Sheriff’s deputies responded to the scene from the Carlton area, one of the deputies met a red 1990s-style Grand Am with a Minnesota license plate traveling away from Barnum. The deputy noted the last three numbers on the plate as they passed each other, though he hadn’t received any description of a get-away vehicle from the clerk at the scene.
Another deputy responding to the scene spotted a dark-colored sweatshirt in the roadway of County Road 140 and stopped to retrieve the item of clothing, believing it may have been related to the incident at the Little Store.
In reviewing footage from the store’s security cameras, officers noted that the clothing found in the roadway matched the clothing worn by the suspect in the video.
As officers were finishing processing the scene around 8:30 a.m., they noted a red 1990s-style Grand Am with a Minnesota license plate ending in 161, matching the one reported earlier by the deputy, pulling out of the Little Store parking lot. A traffic stop was made, and the driver was identified as Reilly and the passenger was O’Brien, both of whom were smoking cigarettes of the brand stolen from the Little Store with tax ID numbers in the same series as those being sold at the Little Store.
Authorities reported that Reilly and O’Brien both told conflicting and disjointed stories about where they had been earlier that morning, and they were taken into custody. In the meantime, other officers responded to the residence in Moose Lake where the two had been staying. Officers located Proano inside the residence and identified him as the one who robbed the store from the images they saw on the Little Store surveillance footage.
According to court records, Proano said he had been drinking with Reilly and O’Brien the night before and were riding around in the red Grand Am. He then admitted to robbing the Little Store, stating that O’Brien had parked the car about four blocks away and then waited with Reilly while Proano walked to the store with a gun and demanded money and cigarettes from the clerk. He said at some point as he ran back to the waiting car, the bag of money ripped open and the cash spilled out. As the three fled the scene, Proano stated they threw the clothes he had been wearing out the window of the car and then went back to the Moose Lake residence where they had all been staying.
Proano was then arrested and lodged at the Carlton County Jail.
The Moose Lake Police Department, Minnesota State Patrol, Cloquet Police Department and the Pine County Sheriff’s Office assisted in the investigation.