Arrest made in two Medford car lot burglaries

A Medford-area transient faces numerous felony charges for reportedly breaking into two car lots and stealing vehicles over the weekend, police said.

The case against suspect Robert Elbert Johannessen, 37, began on Friday morning, when employees at West Main Auto Sales on West Main Street reported that the business had been broken into the previous night.

The owner arrived at work to discover someone had kicked out a large window near the front door. The items stolen included $2,600 worth of tools as well as two vehicles.

The stolen vehicles were a 1998 white Ford Ranger and a silver 2002 Mitsubishi Montero.

At just after midnight on Saturday, a passerby called police to report suspicious activity at a used car lot at 1258 South Riverside Avenue.

The caller saw one car in the lot with its lights on and another with the door open.

Officers arrived and found the two vehicles with the engines running.

Upon entering the business, the officers allegedly found Johannessen inside.

Investigators saw that Johannessen had reportedly forced his way into the business and was in the process of stealing property when he was caught.

It didn't take long to link Johannessen to the previous night's car business break-in, police said.

Police said Johannessen helped investigators locate the stolen Ford Ranger, which was found in a Medford parking lot.

The Mitsubishi Montero has not been recovered.

Johannessen was lodged in the Jackson County Jail on two counts of second-degree burglary, two counts of unlawful use of a motor vehicle, two counts of first-degree theft, three counts of criminal mischief and two counts of attempted unlawful use of a motor vehicle.

His bail was set at $117,000.

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