The actions of an alert neighbor led to a foot chase and arrest of two Medford men who allegedly stole electronics from a home in the 2800 block of North Keene Way Drive Friday while the owners were out of town.
Jeffrey Randolph Blackwood, 20, and Nicholas Ryan Crisler, 23, were arrested on burglary, theft and felony warrant charges within minutes and were being held late Saturday night in the Jackson County Jail without bail.
Medford police Lt. Mike Budreau said a neighbor who knew that the homeowners were out of town called dispatch after spotting a broken window at their house and hearing noises inside.
When police officers approached the house at 12:37 p.m. Friday, two men fled out the back door, jumping a fence and running across an open field, Budreau said.
The men ran through the outskirts of the Kennedy Elementary School campus and into an apartment complex at 2389 W. Bell Court, where officers briefly lost sight of them.
Police recognized the two men from surveillance footage from an incident the night before, when a gun was discharged at Bunk's Deli, 915 W. McAndrews Road. Police who arrived at the deli at about 7:30 p.m. determined one of the men accidentally had discharged the handgun before dropping it on the floor.
"It either hit the floor and went off, or was an accidental discharge as he was handling the weapon trying to keep it concealed," said Budreau.
The two men then picked up the gun and ran out. Investigators do not believe the suspects were going to rob the store. Officers located a discharged bullet and shell casing. No one was injured. The gun, determined to be a .22 caliber, has not been recovered.
Medford police notified staff at nearby Kennedy Elementary School of the two men attempting to elude police. They also locked down Foothills Center Head Start School at 2722 Springbrook Road because of its close proximity to the two suspects.
The two men were found about 15 minutes later hiding in the apartment complex and were arrested.
"At one point they were running around on the roof, and hopping in and out of people's balconies," Budreau said.
Police recovered property they believed to have been taken during the burglary, including a laptop computer, iPad and Xbox.
Blackwood was arrested on charges of first-degree burglary, first-degree theft, attempting to elude an officer and several felony warrants.
Crisler was arrested on charges of felon in possession of a firearm, first-degree burglary, first-degree theft, possession of methadone and a felony warrant for a parole violation.
The gun from the previous night's incident was not found, but Crisler was found with a magazine for a .22-caliber gun, said Budreau.
"We're lucky that nobody got hurt in the Bunk's Deli incident, but now we have this gun outstanding, which is of concern," said Budreau. "We searched the area around Kennedy School really well — we were concerned he could have pitched it in that area. He most likely stashed it in the apartment complex area."
Budreau commended the neighbor on North Keene Way Drive for seeing something suspicious and calling police.
"It paid off for them to be a nosy neighbor seeing something amiss and actually calling it in," said Budreau. "It's nice to have neighbors you can trust like that."
Reach Mandy Valencia at 541-776-4486 or firstname.lastname@example.org.