Richard "Tiny" Robertson, 70, has his Chevy Suburban back after a bank robber hijacked it as a getaway vehicle Thursday at a Medford church parking lot, but things are hardly back to normal.
Robertson, Grace Christian School's transportation coordinator, had been waiting to give a teacher a ride. Moments later, Robertson was outside of his SUV, bleeding from two knife wounds and pleading with the thief to at least leave him his prescription medication.
"He let me have my medicine," Robertson said.
Robertson was the second victim the assailant encountered at the church. Moments after a bank robbery at the Chase Bank at the corner of Stevens and Crater Lake Avenue at 4 p.m. Thursday, a masked man with a knife ran into First Baptist Church through a dining area near the kitchen known as the Fireside Room.
There the suspect encountered a custodian and demanded keys, according to Robertson. The custodian did not comply and ran him out of the building.
"He picked up a chair," Robertson said of the janitor.
Cascade Christian Middle School basketball players had been practicing in the gym at the time, according to school officials, who said they immediately went into lockdown.
As of Saturday night, Medford police hadn't released any information about possible arrests in the case. In an update posted on the department's Facebook page late Friday, the agency said detectives had made some "excellent developments" but withheld further details to protect the investigation.
The robber approached at least one other driver. George Nye, retired pastor of Eastwood Baptist Church, posted on Facebook that the thief tried to steal his van in the bank parking lot before Nye got "a little interactive."
"I didn't like him yelling at me," Nye posted. "Then he tried to stab me."
The suspect cut Nye's coat sleeve, but Nye was otherwise uninjured. The suspect, still looking to make his escape, then found Robertson waiting in his Suburban.
"He just automatically jumped in," Robertson said. "He wanted me to drive, and I said no."
In an encounter that lasted less than a minute, the suspect forced Robertson out of the vehicle with the knife and cut him twice, first slashing Robertson's shirt across the chest then cutting him on the right forearm. Robertson described the weapon as an 8- to 10-inch hunting knife.
"He wanted me to know that he meant business," Robertson said, adding there was no time to think about what was happening.
The robber hopped over the center console into the driver's seat. Roberston said he pleaded with the man to leave him his prescription blood thinners, which he did, chucking the bottle of pills out the window.
A teacher on his way home, Brian Roberts, tried to intervene and ran alongside the stolen vehicle in the parking lot, but the thief swerved toward him.
"His hand hit my mirror and broke it," Robertson said.
The thief made off with Robertson's phone, which was seized as evidence when the vehicle was later found abandoned at a Circle K store on Riverside. Robertson said he could hear his phone ringing from the evidence locker when he picked up his Suburban.
"They said my phone's been going off all the time," Robertson said.
Robertson said he took his SUV to be washed right afterward, but his interior is still a reminder.
“I’m gonna have to get it detailed because there’s blood inside,” Robertson said.
— Reach reporter Nick Morgan at 541-776-4471 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at @MTCrimeBeat.