SIKESTON -- Authorities are investigating whether robberies and attempted robberies in the Miner area early this morning are connected to a high-speed pursuit that ended near Dudley.
"We believe there were two attempted robberies in the Miner area," according to Missouri State Highway Patrol Sgt. Larry Plunkett Jr., Troop E's public information officer. "There were two successful robberies at the Best Western Coach Inn and the Holiday Inn Express in the 2:30 to 3 a.m. time frame.
"Both attendants had been tied up."
Authorities believe the Holiday Inn Express was allegedly robbed first, Plunkett said. An undetermined amount of money was taken from both motels, which are located on South Interstate Drive, he said.
"We believe a weapon was involved," Plunkett said.
According to Miner Police Officer Larry Armstrong, witnesses were "unable to give us any information on a vehicle."
The Missouri State Highway Patrol's Division of Drug and Crime Control is reportedly assisting the Miner Police Department in investigating the robberies.
At some point after the alleged robberies, an "off-duty officer observed a leaving the scene accident in the city of Sikeston," Plunkett said.
Sikeston Department of Public Safety officers began pursuing the suspect vehicle south on Highway 61 and then westbound on U.S. 60. That pursuit continued into Stoddard County.
Stoddard County Deputy Andy Holden said he was contacted at home at about 6:45 a.m. to assist.
"I waited at (U.S.) 60 and F Highway to make sure they didn't turn on F Highway" and go toward Aid, Holden said.
When the suspect vehicle, a Ford Explorer, passed Holden there were two Sikeston cars directly behind it, as well as a highway patrol and a Dexter Police Department cars, Holden said.
"They said when (the vehicle) left Sikeston it was doing 100 to 120 mph," Holden said. "When I was involved (the speeds) were between 80 to 90 (mph)."
Patrol Trooper Nathan Wheeles said that as the suspect vehicle was coming towards him, "I set up spike strips west of the Dudley overpass.
"I deployed them and the vehicle ran over the spikes, flattening the two front tires; therefore, ending the pursuit."
After about another mile, the "tires were completely flattened and they pulled over," Wheeles said. "They were taken out of the car at gunpoint."
According to Plunkett, three black males over the age of 17 from Arkansas were taken into custody without incident.
"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."
Armstrong said authorities are "hoping that it is the same" vehicle and suspects in each incident.
"There is not reason to be it is or that it isn't," Armstrong said.
"They are not suspects in the robberies at this time. ... It's under investigation." .