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A patron at Steiny’s Bar foiled an attempted robbery early Thursday.

According to Tom Williams, deputy chief of the Winona Police Department, officers responded to a report of an armed robbery at Steiny’s Bar, 501 W. fourth St., shortly before 12:45 a.m.

The two men were described as wearing all black with bandanas and ski masks covering their faces. Witnesses told police the men were between 5-foot-8 and 6 feet tall and approximately 160 to 170 pounds.

The bartender told police she was outside when one of the men approached her and pressed a paper bag against her back containing what she believed to be a handgun.

The bartender said the second man walked past her began to remove two boxes of pull tabs from behind the bar.

When the man attempted to leave, a bar patron confronted him grabbing one of the pull tab boxes.

Police said the second man then raised the paper bag in the direction of the patron. The patron swatted the paper bag out of the man’s hands.

Williams said the bag contained a piece of plastic the man had used to fool the bartender and patrons into believing he was armed.

According to witnesses, the two men then fled empty-handed south on Olmsted before splitting off near Fifth Street.

No injuries were reported, and the pull tab boxes were recovered.

The incident is under investigation.

Tobias Mann covers crime and government in Winona County. He can be reached at 507-453-3522 or at

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