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Police catch ATM theft suspect after chase

LAWRENCEVILLE - Gwinnett County police arrested a man Friday suspected of stealing an ATM from a local bank.

After a short chase along Interstate 85, authorities arrested 45-year-old Michael Keith Fulks and charged him with making off with the cash machine from the Bank of America located at 1014 Old Peachtree Road near Lawrenceville.

Authorities responded to the bank after alarms were activated shortly before 2:30 a.m. Friday.

According to a Police Department press release, officers arrived finding the machine had been removed from the bank's drive-through.

Authorities were able to locate the cash machine the same day due to a tracking device installed inside the ATM.

Police spotted Fulks driving a blue Chevrolet pick-up truck northbound on I-85 with the ATM in the bed of the vehicle, the release said.

Fulks led officers on a chase along the interstate but they eventually apprehended him when he exited onto Buford Drive, turning into the Summer Park apartment complex on Crossing Parkway.

Police arrested Fulks after a right turn into the apartment complex and the weight of the ATM caused the vehicle to overturn. Fulks was treated at the scene for minor injuries obtained in the accident and then taken into custody, police said.

Gwinnett police Cpl. Illana Spellman said it is not yet known if Fulks could be responsible for other thefts.

"The detective will speak with the suspect to find out if he may have been responsible for any similar thefts in past months, so that may be a possibility," Spellman said.

Police believe Fulks used a forklift located in the parking lot of the bank to remove the ATM and load it into the truck. Police said the truck used in the heist was reported stolen in Norcross.

"I do not know why the forklift was in the parking lot, but it is believed that the forklift was used to remove the ATM and put it in the pick-up truck," Spellman said. "I was told there is a construction site near the bank."

The man currently faces felony charges of theft by taking, theft by receiving a motor vehicle, criminal damage to property in the second degree and theft by taking a motor vehicle.

"Additional charges are definitely a possibility," Spellman said. "It is still early in the investigation, so it may take a couple of days to establish probable cause for additional charges."