Rash of car break-ins hits Medford neighborhoods

Medford police: Six more reported Friday night and another Saturday night

Thieves have broken into cars at alarming rates in Medford neighborhoods recently, making off with weapons, laptops and cash.

"It is certainly scary to think we have stolen guns out there," said Medford police Sgt. Kerry Curtis.

In October, thieves broke into 63 vehicles, but in the first 11 days of November, they've grabbed valuables out of 42 vehicles, Curtis said.

On Friday night, six vehicles were broken into in southeast Medford in the Standford Avenue area. On Saturday night, one vehicle was hit.

"It sounded like this group is mainly targeting unlocked cars," Curtis said.

One woman lost a laptop computer that she left in her car, he said.

Years ago, the primary target for car thieves was stereo systems. Now, police have noticed thieves have turned their attention to laptops, electronic gear, money and other valuables.

The main theme in vehicle break-ins is that the owner left the doors unlocked.

Curtis said many motorists leave their automatic garage door openers in an unlocked car.

"I look at breaking into cars as a crime of opportunity," Kerry said.

Medford police arrested John David Lewis, 26, of Medford, and Richard Anthony Aguilar, 32, of Central Point, in connection with a Nov. 7 burglary where a garage door opener was used from an unlocked vehicle.

Many of the suspects arrested have committed crimes related to drugs. Kerry said many suspects pawn or sell the items for cash.

Police have arrested various suspects in connection with car break-ins, but Curtis said there is no pattern to which areas will get hit.

"It seems like when we do get break-ins on any given night, it's in the same area," he said. "But, the next night, it's in another area."

Sometimes thieves smash windows on vehicles as they did to three Ford pickups at Crater Lake Ford last June.

Even crowded parking lots haven't proven a deterrent to thieves.

In one recent case, a victim went into Superior Athletic Club to work out, but found a wallet, phone and other valuables missing from a bag that was inside the unlocked car, Curtis said.

He said he encourages residents to double check that they've locked their vehicles at night. If any valuables are stored in the vehicle, Curtis suggests they be placed in the trunk, out of view.

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