Suspects held pending investigation of robberies

Wednesday, October 30, 2002

Daily American Republic

SIKESTON, Mo. -- Authorities are investigating whether robberies and attempted robberies in the Miner, Mo., area early Tuesday morning are connected to a high-speed pursuit that ended near Dudley, Mo.

Three black males from Arkansas remain in custody following the pursuit, said Sgt. Larry Plunkett Jr. of the Missouri State Highway Patrol.

"Right now, we're not sure that the two investigations -- the accident and pursuit --are connected to the robberies," Plunkett said. "That's being investigated at this time. The subjects are being held pending that investigation."

Early morning robberies

Plunkett said police believed there were two successful robberies in the Miner area between 2:30 and 3 a.m. Tuesday at the Best Western Coach Inn and the Holiday Inn Express, both on South Interstate Drive.

Attendants had been tied up at both locations, and an undetermined amount of money was taken from both motels, Plunkett said.

At some point after the alleged robberies, an off-duty officer observed a vehicle leaving the scene of an accident in Sikeston, Plunkett said.

Sikeston Department of Public Safety officers began pursuing the vehicle -- traveling at between 100 and 120 miles per hour -- south on U.S. 61 and then westbound on U.S. 60. That pursuit continued into Stoddard County, officials said.

The pursuit ended when officers set up spike strips west of the Dudley overpass on U.S. 60. The vehicle's two front tires were flattened a mile after the driver ran over the spikes, officers said.

The Missouri State Highway Patrol's Division of Drug and Crime Control is reportedly assisting the Miner Police Department in investigating the robberies.

Miner police officer Larry Armstrong said authorities are hoping the same vehicle and suspects are involved in each incident. There was no description of a suspect vehicle in the motel robberies, officials said.

Armstrong said the three men are not officially suspects, and the investigation is continuing.

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