Rapper charged in bank robbery

— Andre R. Locke, a rapper who went by the name Lil Buddy and had a nationally televised music video, has been charged with bank robbery.

Locke appeared in federal court Monday on charges that he entered Vermillion State Bank in Rosemount on Friday, wearing a ski mask, carrying a handgun and demanding money from the tellers.

Rosemount Police Chief Gary Kalstabakken said Locke drove away in a stolen blue Audi. Police spotted the car minutes later, and a chase ended when Locke crashed the car into a tree, authorities said. He was treated for minor injuries before being sent to jail, police said.

His arrest left his family, friends and fans wondering what happened.

"He's been working for his dream for a long time," said Nicole Gray, Locke's younger sister. "In order for him to do something like this, he had to have hit rock bottom."

Friends and family said Locke had been depressed about his two older brothers, who both need kidney transplants, and needed money himself.

Locke had a debut album "Major" and received national media attention last year, most notably from The Source magazine, which chronicled his life for several months. He was also profiled in Teen People magazine and had a video on Black Entertainment Television in which he played a bank employee who has a party while his boss is away.

But sales of "Major" were lukewarm, said Siddiq Ali, owner of Fifth Element, a Minneapolis hip-hop shop. Still, he said, Locke is a respected artist.

"He's always been a real talented emcee, but we never got to see what he could really do," Ali said. "This doesn't sound like the Buddy I know. This is just too bad."


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