Police received a report a man was robbed of his mobile phone after arranging to sell it and meet the buyer in Nottingham.
Two men and a woman arrived in a car to meet the victim, but one of the men snatched his phone and the suspects then drove off without paying.
The victim tried to hold on to the car, but had to let go as it sped up. He fell to the ground, suffering leg injuries and pain to his rib.
The robbery happened on Wednesday, January 5, at about noon.
Officers later spotted the car believed to have been involved heading northbound on the M1.
They stopped it near Junction 28, at South Normanton, searched the car and arrested three occupants – the car was also seized.
Mobile phones were recovered along with a watch suspected as being stolen in Leicestershire.
A 27-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of robbery and theft, a 19-year-old man on suspicion of robbery and a 26-year-old woman was arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to commit robbery.
They have since been released on conditional bail.
Detective Sergeant Franco Guddemi, from Nottinghamshire Police, said: “All reports of robbery and theft are treated seriously by the force and we will continue to do everything in our power to target and catch criminals relying on our road network to commit offences.
“I am pleased three people were swiftly arrested and I’d like to reassure people we will always investigate reports, strive to put suspects before the courts and seek justice for victims.”