On the trail of a burglary suspect, Medford police stopped a bus, zapped a 30-year-old man with a stun gun and still had to chase him for more than half a mile on his bicycle Tuesday before arresting him on burglary and theft charges.
Daniel Paul Ballard, a 30-year-old Medford transient, remains in Jackson County Jail today on charges linked to a burglary in which about $11,000 in electronics and jewelry were stolen from a west Medford store. A second suspect, Joshua Stephen Massey, 23, was cited and released a day after the break-in, police said.
The burglary occurred at about 5 a.m. Feb. 5 at La Placita, 2080 W. Main St., Medford. Video surveillance shows two suspects enter the business through a plywood covering where an air conditioning unit previously had been installed.
"They'd just covered it up," Lt. Mike Budreau said. "That hole was big enough for (the burglars) to crawl through."
The suspects stole laptops, cellular phones, watches, jewelry and other electronics from the business before leaving, surveillance video shows. In a news release police said the video quality was poor, which made it "impossible" to identify potential suspects.
However, on Feb. 6, detectives got a tip that the burglars where at a home in the first block of North Columbus Avenue. Police went to the home and found about $2,000 worth of the stolen property, including laptops, a camera, an iPod and some jewelry.
After interviewing Massey, police cited and released him on charges of second-degree burglary and first-degree aggravated theft.
Investigators also identified Ballard as a suspect in the burglary at that time. He was already wanted on numerous warrants after running away from the Jackson County work release center on Jan.17, police said.
Police got a tip Tuesday that he was on a Rogue Valley Transportation District bus in Medford. Police stopped the bus on Riverside Avenue near Ohio Street.
Ballard dashed from the bus, snatching his bicycle from the front of the bus and preparing to ride away, police said. An officer used a stun gun, but it didn't slow the fleeing Ballard.
Officers in cars then chased Ballard to Berrydale Avenue near Table Rock Road where they cornered him in a parking lot and arrested him. Budreau said Ballard has a history of running from police.
"We've had a few crazy chases with him in recent months," he said. "We were not surprised at all when he made an attempt to escape from the bus." Ballard is held without bail in the Jackson County Jail on charges of second-degree burglary, first-degree aggravated theft, and a probation violation stemming from numerous past charges, including first- and second-degree burglary, unauthorized use of a motor vehicle, first- and third- degree theft, resisting arrest, escape, identity theft, forgery and possession of methamphetamine.
Several pieces of jewelry are still missing, including a watch worth $3,500 and several pairs of gold earrings, police said. Investigators have contacted several area pawn shops, but the pieces have not yet been recovered.
"We certainly think that it was being traded for drugs and that it's out and about somewhere," Budreau said.
— Ryan Pfeil