Police reveal additional details about Ty Hoffman’s run from authorities

HOFFMAN, Lyle Marvin

The Ramsey County Sheriff’s office released new information about the whereabouts of Ty Hoffman before and after he allegedly murdered LGBT community leader Kelly Phillips.

According to the amended complaint, released Friday afternoon, Phillips had accused Hoffman of stealing money from Lush Food Bar, a business Phillips owned and Hoffman managed:

Hoffman continued to work at the bar that Phillips owned until Phillips discovered that cash deposits from the bar, which Hoffman was responsible for, were substantially lower than records indicated they should have been and that Hoffman had apparently removed business records from the bar. Hoffman was terminated from employment at the bar. After Hoffman refused to return business records for the bar, he was evicted from a residential property that
Phillips owned at 613 Harrison Street on 03-10-2014. He abandoned his property in that residence, which was later packed and stored by a friend. When later examined, police found shooting ear protection and unused shooting targets among Hoffman’s property.

It appears from the complaint that police believe Hoffman may have kidnapped Phillips the morning Phillips was murdered:

Investigators found video of Hoffman leaving the condominium building at 4:58am the morning of the murder. Video from the Third Avenue bridge in Minneapolis, which would be the most direct route from the condo where Hoffman stayed to Phillips’ condo, shows a male believed to be Hoffman, carrying a bottle of water, crossing the bridge at 5:22am the morning of the murder. Phillips BMW was gone from his condo garage by 8:00am that morning. A cleaning lady later found a discarded an abandoned water bottle in the bathroom off the garage. The 911 call from the gas station reporting the murder was at 8:41am on 08-11-2014.

In the weeks when Hoffman was evading authorities, it appears that he was hiding out in the Blaine area. On August 31, a Blaine resident saw someone fitting the description of Hoffman riding a bicycle, and later that afternoon, a man believed to be Hoffman robbed a TCF bank.

At 2:01pm that afternoon, surveillance video from the TCF Bank in that neighborhood recorded Hoffman entering the bank. Hoffman approached a teller carrying a backpack. The video shows Hoffman, wearing a tan tee shirt, shoes and blue jeans all consistent with the surveillance video recorded the day of the murder. In the bank, Hoffman was wearing a blue baseball hat with a Pepsi logo. The video shows Hoffman take what appears to be an olive drab Glock model 21 semiautomatic handgun, fitted with a flashlight mount, from his backpack. He demanded money from the teller at gunpoint. The money along with a dye pack was placed in Hoffman’s backpack. He fled but the dye pack went off across the street while the back pack was on Hoffman’s back. The bike he had been riding earlier was found across the street from where the dye pack went off. In a dumpster nearby, police found a discarded blue baseball hat with a Pepsi logo. Witnesses saw the same male who had been riding the
bike earlier, but now was shirtless and carrying a backpack. The male had red on his back, consistent with the dye. In woods nearby, police found a grocery bag with beard dye, hygiene items, and the key fob, identified by serial number, for access to the Minneapolis condo that Hoffman was recorded leaving the morning of the murder.

A day later, on Sept. 1., surveillance video from the Target at 66th and Cedar Avenue showed a man police believe to be Hoffman:

At 9:50am on 09-01-2014, surveillance video showed Hoffman entering the Target at 66th street and Cedar Avenue in Richfield. He was carrying a backpack with holes in it and wearing a pink shirt. Hoffman bought a new backpack, a shaver, markers, a lightweight shirt, a heavier sweatshirt, and a cell phone and sim card. Video recorded Hoffman going into the bathroom and then emerging wearing some of the newly purchased clothes and carrying the new backpack. The discarded backpack, with red dye inside, and the pink tee shirt, with holes in the back consistent with the dye pack, were found in a nearby trashcan.

Just after noon that afternoon, Hoffman took a bus to the Mall of America area where he then took a cab to Mystic Lake Casino:

There, Hoffman missed the shuttle bus to Mystic Lake Casino, and instead took a cab to Mystic Lake and arrived at about 3:45pm. At Mystic Lake Casino, Hoffman was stopped because security requires that backpacks be checked. Hoffman chose not to do this and video shows Hoffman go into the woods across the street from the casino. After a brief time in the woods, Hoffman reentered the casino and checked his backpack at 4:03pm. He spent an hour playing slot machines, apparently feeding dyed money in and then receiving clean money when he cashed out. He walked to Little Six casino and gambled some more, before going to the C-Store (a convenience store) near Mystic Lake Casino.

He then took a cab to Canterbury Road:

Video showed Hoffman going into and out of the woods across from the casino before hailing a cab at 10:50pm. The cab took Hoffman to a McDonalds at Canterbury Road and Highway 169. Red dyed money was found at a business near that location on 09-03-2014. Using a search warrant, investigators searched the backpack that Hoffman checked at Mystic Lake Casino. Inside, they found all several items that Hoffman had purchased at the Richfield Target, including the cell phone and sim card.

He was arrested 8 days later outside an Arby’s in Shakopee where he gave the police the name “Mark Royce” before identifying himself as Ty Hoffman:

Hoffman was arrested outside the Arby’s restaurant in Shakopee at 10:20am on 09-11-2014. When first contacted by police, he identified himself as “Mark Royce” but, once in handcuffs, admitted he was Lyle Hoffman. He was searched and police found over $3,000 in dye stained money, a beard trimmer and mirror, and the claim slip for the backpack he had checked at Mystic Lake Casino. He was wearing the shirt he had purchased at Target, and jeans consistent with the videos from the TCF Bank, and from Target and the MTC bus. When arrested, Hoffman had burns and red marks on his back consistent with the dye pack that went off in the backpack he was carrying.

Here’s the amended complaint:

Download (PDF, 246KB)

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