A Helena man is accused of stealing an ATM from a Helena Valley bar and restaurant and then leading police on a high-speed chase.
Cory Robert Franklin is being charged with felony burglary, theft, criminal endangerment and tampering with or fabricating physical evidence.
Early in the morning of Jan. 6 deputies were called to the Causeway Chalet for a call about a break-in. The business’ owner could see the store through a remote security system and told officers the perpetrators were driving a silver truck that they placed the ATM into before leaving, according to court documents.
Deputies encountered the vehicle and saw the ATM in the vehicle’s bed. The driver of the truck then sped off, leading deputies on a chase that ranged from 80-100 miles per hour at night on a public highway, forcing the deputies to break off pursuit.
Afterward, deputies met with the owner who identified the two men from still photos taken from a security camera. The two burglars had bent screws back on a bathroom window and gotten into the business after hours, according to court documents.
The ATM was found 50 miles west of Helena near Lincoln. The sheriff’s office sought public help and determined that Franklin owned the silver truck used in the theft.
Investigators believed that Franklin had tampered with his vehicle by changing the tool boxes and adding skull decals to it as a way to disguise it.
Franklin had a previous conviction for stealing an ATM in the Flathead Valley, court documents say.