Police add multiple burglaries to suspect's list of charges

Jerry Newton McDonald, 46, of Medford has been in jail since his arrest on Dec. 7

A Medford man is suspected of 11 burglaries since late November, including the looting of a Habitat for Humanity store and burglarizing a physical therapy office three times.

Between Nov. 21 and Dec. 6, Jerry Newton McDonald, 47, of the 100 block of Cottage Street, allegedly burglarized Habit for Humanity, Jackson County Physical Therapy, Aspen Dental, Quality Tire, Rodda Paint, Ed's Tire Factory, Mongolian Grill, Salon Vivid and Medford Tan, police said.

"Basically, when we started seeing the same businesses being hit in the same areas, in part on Hawthorne Street, we knew we had somebody actively committing burglaries. ... It was always a rock thrown through a window or some other type of crude force," said Medford police Lt. Mike Budreau.

McDonald has been lodged in the Jackson County Jail since his initial arrest Dec. 7 and now faces an additional seven counts of criminal mischief, two counts of second-degree theft, five counts of first-degree theft, two counts of second-degree burglary and eight counts of second-degree burglary, the release said. His bail is set at $399,000.

Police say they believe McDonald burglarized the physical therapy office, at 36 Hawthorne St., on Nov. 22, Dec. 3 and Dec. 5.

"We know he was staying on Cottage Street, and it's within walking distance," Budreau said, "but I am surprised that he went back to it three times."

Habitat for Humanity ReStore Home Improvement Center, from which an estimated $4,000 in electronic devices and tools was taken, is a Christian-based, nonprofit organization that builds homes in partnership with low-income families around the Rogue Valley. It is a mostly volunteer organization.

Budreau said McDonald apparently cased the Habitat for Humanity layout by coming into the store to fill out an application a day before the break-in.

Budreau said police were able to identify McDonald as a suspect in the burglaries through surveillance footage, witness interviews and the recovery of some of the stolen property, much of which is still missing.

"The longer the time goes by the less likely we are to recover it, unless we have a serial number," Budreau said. "It gets farther and farther from the criminal."

Initially, Medford police detained McDonald on a warrant issued for his arrest in Montana and for failing to register as a sex offender.

Reach reporter Sam Wheeler at 541-776-4471 or swheeler@mailtribune.com. Follow him on Twitter @MTwriter_swhlr.

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