Arrests made in Wednesday bank robbery

Medford police arrested two people suspected of robbing a Sterling Savings Bank and escaping in a getaway car Wednesday, four hours after the incident, according to a news release.

Detective Sgt. Brent Mak first saw a 1991 Hyundai matching the description of a getaway car used in the 2:17 p.m. robbery at 6:17 p.m. as the vehicle left the Circle K near Barnett Road and Riverside Avenue.

Mak questioned the vehicle's occupants, Brett Leon Court, 37, and Melissa Jane Fernandez, 36, and arrested them after taking their statements. He also found evidence in the vehicle linking them to the robbery, including a Black Bear Diner hat witnesses said the suspected bank robber wore.

"That was a pretty crucial piece," said Lt. Mike Budreau of Medford police.

Both Fernandez and Court are romantically involved, police said.

Court is suspected of entering the Sterling Savings Bank, then empty of customers, approaching a teller and saying he had a weapon, though no weapon was seen. He fled with an undisclosed amount of cash to a nearby alley and got into a car, witnesses told police. Fernandez is suspected of driving the getaway vehicle.

"Having that vehicle information was absolutely crucial. That really made the case," Budreau said.

Police searched the couple's residence in the 300 block of Stewart Avenue, where they found stolen cash and additional evidence. They did not find any weapons.

Court is on parole in Josephine County for felon in possession of a firearm charges and driving under the influence of intoxicants.

"He's gone to prison a couple times in the last few years for various offenses," Budreau said.

Fernandez does not appear to have any felony convictions in Jackson County, court records show.

Both suspects are held in the Jackson County Jail on second-degree robbery charges, a Measure 11 crime. They are both held on $1 million bail.

— Ryan Pfeil


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