The three accused were identified as Muhammed Sarafad (22), Sykul (28) and Muhammed Jineeth (18). All the three were residents of the northern state of Haryana.
Sources said that the trio was caught by the police who were conducting vehicle check on Salem-Namakkal National Highways during early hours on Friday.
Cops signalled a lorry to stop during a vehicle check on the NH. The accused, including the one behind the wheels, on the seeing the police jumped out and tried to escape from the spot. However, cops managed to nab all the three of them after a hot chase.
Inquiries revealed that they were part of a network of inter-state criminals and were involved in a failed attempt to break open an ATM located near a private college at Pucuchatram in Namakkal district.
“The accused had tried to break open the ATM using a gas welding machine on July 5. During their break-in attempt, the ATM machine caught fire and was burnt completely. Cash worth over Rs 2 lakh were believed to be burnt to ashes in the fire,” police said.
Following this, a special team led by Puduchatram station inspector Mahalakshmi launched a search for the culprits.
“The three men had come to Madurai to unload some goods and were bound to Andhra Pradesh, when they decided to strike midway at the deserted ATM in Namakkal. They however fled away after the ATM machine caught fire,” police said.
Police have seized the lorry and the gas cutter besides arresting the three.
Police suspect the trio to be part of a larger gang and to have been involved in similar incidents. Further investigations are on.