Just after 5:00 p.m. on Tuesday, a vehicle was reported stolen from the Southgate Mall parking lot. According to Missoula Police Captain Mike Colyer, a purse containing a handgun was within the pickup at the time of the theft.

“Shortly thereafter, there was a theft reported from the Town Pump in the 2200 block of N. Reserve,” Colyer said. “A male came in and stole almost $100 worth of cigarettes. When that description from the victim was provided, there were some similarities between the vehicle that was described and the stolen vehicle.”

At approximately 6:22 p.m., MPD officers responded to a reported armed robbery in the alley east of the 300 block of N. Higgins.

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“That victim described the suspects and the vehicle, which were consistent with both the stolen vehicle from Southgate Mall and the theft on N. Reserve Street,” Colyer said. “MPD officers, MCSO deputies, and MHP troopers all began looking for this vehicle. Deputies located this vehicle unoccupied at the Town Pump Travel Center in Bonner along Highway 10 East. An officer responded to help make contact. As the suspects came out of the store, they got in the vehicle before law enforcement could make contact.”

Colyer said law enforcement attempted a traffic stop, which quickly turned into a chase.

“The suspect vehicle tried to elude them eastbound on Highway 10 East,” Colyer said. “At or about the Turah Exit to I-90, a sheriff’s deputy disabled the suspect vehicle and it came to a stop right at the train tracks near that exit. A high risk traffic stop was conducted and both male occupants were taken into custody at that location.”

As the suspect vehicle came to a stop, it stopped right in front of an MPD K-9 vehicle. The officer immediately stopped and exited his vehicle to assist with the apprehension of the suspects.

“By the time everything resolved, we had tried to contact the railroad about a vehicle on the tracks, but the officer was unable to get back to his car in time to get it off of the tracks,” Colyer said. “A sheriff’s deputy helped him. They got the door open for the dog and we got our police dog out of the vehicle, but the train struck the police vehicle that was on the tracks.”

No citizens, law enforcement officers, the K-9, or suspects were injured. The suspects in this case were identified as 31-year-old Justin Pando and 29-year-old Michael Mcvey.

Mcvey made his initial appearance in Missoula Justice Court on Thursday afternoon. He is currently being charged with theft, accountability for robbery, assault on a peace officer, criminal endangerment, fleeing from a peace officer, and obstructing a peace officer. His bail was set in the amount of $500,000.

Pando is currently being charged with theft, robbery, accountability for assault on a peace officer, accountability for criminal endangerment, accountability for fleeing from a peace officer, and accountability for obstructing a peace officer.

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