MISSOULA — A series of robberies in Missoula Tuesday night led to a police chase, two arrests, and a patrol vehicle being hit by a train.
Two men were arrested and booked on felony charges following the incidents. Justin Pando, 31, faces charges of theft and robbery while Michael McVey, 29 was booked for three felonies and a parole violation.
According to the Missoula Police Department, just after 5 p.m. Tuesday, a pickup truck was reported stolen from the parking lot at the Southgate Mall, with the following events believed to be related.
About five minutes after the report, nearly $100 worth of cigarettes were stolen at the Town Pump on Reserve Street. Then about an hour later, a victim reported being held at gunpoint and robbed of personal items in an alley near the 300 block of North Higgins. Soon after that incident, the stolen pickup truck was located by Missoula County Sheriff’s deputies at the Town Pump Travel Center in Bonner.
MPD, the Missoula County Sheriff's Office, and the Montana Highway Patrol then became involved in a pursuit with the vehicle. The pickup truck was stopped by the officers near the Turah Exit on Interstate 90. However, during the pursuit and arrest of the suspects, an MPD K-9 vehicle was struck by a train. No one, including the K-9, was injured.
While MHP will investigate the crash, the criminal case has been referred to the Missoula County Attorney's Office.