Purse-stealing suspect in jail after fight with police

He was allegedly shopping with the victim's credit cards

A man with warrants for identity theft and burglary charges out of Missouri is in the Jackson County Jail after he allegedly stole an elderly woman's purse, tried to buy merchandise with stolen credit cards and fought with police Sunday.

Ryan Kane Smythers, 27, remained in the jail Monday on charges of first-degree burglary, second-degree theft, resisting arrest and out-of-state warrants, Medford police reported. He was being held without bail, according to jail records.

Smythers' mugshot shows a bruised face with a black eye, injuries sustained during a fight with police in which both parties tumbled to the ground in a scuffle.

"I'm not exactly sure how those injuries occurred," Medford police Lt. Mike Budreau said. "I don't know if those were punches, kicks or just from going to the ground."

Police first received word about Smythers at 8:38 p.m. Sunday when a witness reported seeing a male digging through a purse while riding a skateboard on Poplar Drive. The man tossed the purse aside and the witness retrieved it and found identification inside.

The identification led to a 78-year-old woman who lives nearby in the 1500 block of Johnson Street, police said. She had been in her backyard while her purse sat inside on the dining room table and was unaware of the theft, police said.

The witness told police the skating suspect had been heading north toward Fred Meyer. Police found Smythers inside the store with a shopping cart filled with close to $400 in merchandise. Police didn't disclose what he planned to buy, and the unpurchased items were returned to store shelves.

Smythers fought back during an arrest attempt. Police tried to subdue him twice with a stun gun before tumbling to the floor in a struggle.

"He was fighting pretty aggressively," Budreau said.

Police said they found the woman's credit cards in Smythers' possession. He had made no additional purchases on the credit cards. They have since been returned, police said.

Smythers received treatment at Providence Medford Medical Center for facial injuries he received during the fight with police. He was then released and lodged in the jail.

Court records show Smythers has no additional criminal history in Jackson County. He does have warrants out for his arrest out of Missouri, stemming from burglary, forgery, resisting arrest and credit card theft charges. Police said he was new to the Medford area and might have come to work in door-to-door sales.

Reach reporter Ryan Pfeil at 541-776-4468 or rpfeil@mailtribune.com. Follow him at www.twitter.com/ryanpfeil.

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