Three men have been charged with multiple felonies after Medford detectives tied them to a string of business burglaries that occurred this spring.
Six businesses were struck in late May and early June in various spots throughout Medford. In each burglary, the suspects forced their way into the businesses, Medford police Lt. Bob Hansen said.
The businesses included four automotive shops, a charter school and a storage unit complex, Hansen said.
"The suspects pried their way into the businesses and stole tools, computers, firearms and other items," Hansen said.
The burglars broke into the Logos Public Charter School on Earhart Street and made off with 21 laptop computers.
ELC Automotive, on South Pacific Highway, lost approximately $20,000 in tools. Crater Automotive, also on South Pacific Highway, lost $30,000 in tools.
In addition, several storage units were broken into at Table Rock Mini Storage on Table Rock Road.
"Among other items a firearm was stolen from the mini storage business," Hansen said.
Medford police Detective Bill Ford went to work on the cases and was able to turn up information pointing to three suspects, all in their 20s.
The investigation was hampered by the fact none of the businesses had surveillance videos which help identify the burglars, Hansen said.
"Detective Ford did an excellent job conducting old-fashioned interviews to get our suspects to give us information on these crimes," Medford police Chief Tim George said.
Ford was able to lodge numerous felony charges against the trio.
Travis Norcross, 27, was charged with five counts of second-degree burglary, three counts of first-degree aggravated theft, two counts of first-degree theft and a count of theft by receiving.
Brandon Lee Smith, 26, was charged with five counts of second-degree burglary, two counts of first-degree aggravated theft and two counts of first-degree theft.
Brett Lee Woolley, 21, was charged with second-degree burglary and first-degree theft.
All three were cited and ordered to appear in Jackson County Circuit Court to face the charges.
"We are happy to have made the arrests," Hansen said. "But unfortunately, we have not been able to recover all of the stolen items."
Of the 21 laptops stolen from the school, only 7 have been returned, Hansen said.
Police believe many of the items have been sold or traded away.
George said the department solves around one-third of the business burglaries it receives each year. As of the end of May, there have been 38 reported business burglaries.
"These cases are hard to close, so we are glad make arrests in six burglaries," George said.
Hansen reminds small business owners to invest in surveillance cameras and alarms to protect their investments.
— Chris Conrad