Firearms have MH man in trouble in 2 counties

Photo: Austin Brice Helms

A Mountain Home man’s alleged association with firearms has resulted in criminal cases being filed against him in both Baxter and Boone counties.

Twenty-year-old Austin Brice Helms pled not guilty to the charges against him during a session of Baxter County Circuit Court Thursday.

His latest arrest came Dec. 4 when he was taken into custody by Baxter County deputies and booked into the detention center on a charge of aggravated robbery.

The charge stemmed from an incident involving three men, including Helms. They were reported to have gone to the Executive Inn on Sept. 14 and robbed a man they had met earlier in the evening.

The victim told police the three men brandished firearms. He said he gave the trio money, and they then loaded him up in a black pickup truck and drove him around town while making threats to kill him.

The victim said they finally returned to his motel room, and he gave the men more cash. The victim identified Helms as one of the robbers.

Helms was arrested Oct. 5 in Boone County on unrelated charges. A Mountain Home policeman went to Harrison and interviewed him. He claimed he did not have a weapon during the Executive Inn robbery, but was involved in taking money from the victim and driving the man around town.

Helms had the victim’s cellphone and was reported to be using it as his own when he was arrested in Boone County.

The bond for Helms is set at $25,000, according to the Baxter County jail log.

Another person charged in the robbery incident is 21-year-old Hunter Ty Peifer of Batesville. He has pled not guilty to the charges against him and is set to reappear in circuit court April 5.

Photo: Hunter Ty Peifer

The third man appears never to have been arrested or charged in the incident. Helms identified him only by his first name, when he was interviewed by investigators.

Helms was also arrested in Baxter County in December last year stemming from his possession of firearms alleged to be stolen.

Mountain Home police officers were called to a local pawnshop Dec. 5, 2019, after Helms and an unidentified person came into the shop to sell or trade two weapons believed to be stolen.

Helms was charged with theft of property. He has pled not guilty to the charges in the late 2019 case and is set to reappear in circuit court March 25, 2021.

He is also in trouble in Boone County for being in possession of a .410 shotgun with a barrel sawed off to an illegal length. Possession of the weapon is a violation of the National Firearms Act requiring shotguns to have a barrel length of no less than 18 inches.

In addition to the weapons violation, Helms was charged with being in possession of drug paraphernalia.

Helms was arrested Sept. 23 and pled not guilty Oct. 30. He is ordered to reappear in Boone County Circuit Court April 20 next year.

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