SULPHUR, La. (KPLC) - The Sulphur Police Department has arrested three Texas men in connection to an ATM theft Thursday morning.
Authorities say around 5:30 a.m. the department received a complaint of suspicious activity.
“A gentleman was out jogging near the bank on Ruth at Tamarack Street,” Police Chief Lewis Coats said. “He noticed a truck and saw a couple of men outside the truck with chain wrapping it around the ATM machine and they start pulling on it off of its mounting bracket to the concrete. Obviously he knew something was wrong so he contacted the police. In the middle of all that, we were receiving phone calls down Tamarack and Pecan and Kent Street that a pickup truck was towing something large with sparks flying everywhere.”
Officers responded and discovered the ATM was ripped from its base and dragged down the road according to Coats. He says the ATM came loose from the truck and was later discovered near the intersection of East Kent Drive and West Kent Drive.
Officers say the truck pulled into the front yard of a residence on South Kent Drive and the three men inside the car fled on foot.
Coats says the white pickup truck had been reported stolen out of Houston.
Two of the suspects were caught after a brief foot pursuit; the third suspect was located a short time later.
Joshua Jemille Lee, 24, Effron Anthony Williams, 18, and Daivion Anthony Banton, 30, were all placed under arrest.
All three have been charged with felony criminal damage to property, felony theft, resisting an officer, and felony possession of stolen property.
Banton and Williams’ bonds have been set at $90,000. Lee’s bond has been set at $95,000.
This attempted ATM theft happened the same morning 8 were arrested in Lake Charles for an attempted ATM theft. Lake Charles Police are also working another ATM theft that happened Thursday morning at a bank off Prien Lake Rd.
Coats says it’s not a coincidence these crimes happened on the same night across Calcasieu Parish.
“We know they are definitely connected," Coats said. "Actually, one of the officers from LCPD, was heading home and saw one of my units running, coded to get to this, so he knew something was up so he followed. Come to find out he started chasing the same group of guys they were chasing in Lake Charles. He helped connect the dots on what they were doing and what we were doing.”
Coats says while the suspect did take the ATM away from the bank, they were not able to access the safe inside. He says the money has been returned to the bank.
He thanks the Sulphur residents who contacted authorities when they saw something suspicious.
“It all goes back to the citizens,” Coats said. “We need them. We can’t be everywhere at all times and we would not have been able to make these arrests without somebody seeing something suspicious and calling. We really appreciate the citizens calling in. Good teamwork between us and the citizens. That’s all we need.”
Coats says Sulphur Police also arrested three men a few weeks ago, saying they stole a truck and were going to attempt to steal an ATM.
Authorities in Orange and Nederland, Texas are also looking for suspects in early morning ATM robberies. It is unknown if those thefts are connected to the ones in the Lake Area at this time.