The same suspects are believed to be behind close to a dozen and a half burglaries that have left businesses with thousands of dollars in losses.
A break-in reported Saturday morning at the Short Stop Market on North Pacific Highway is the 17th in a string of burglaries over the past month targeting businesses, according to Medford police Sgt. Jason Antley. Because the case was still being investigated, Antley declined to say what's was taken in the latest burglary or how the thieves entered the business, but said they hit the market while it was closed.
The burglars appear to be targeting businesses with weak or non-existent surveillance systems, then hitting the locations when they're closed for the day, according to Antley. He said there are other clues that point to the same suspects, but declined to elaborate as work to solve the cases continues.
Antley encouraged businesses to protect themselves with surveillance systems if they haven't already.
Items taken from recent burglaries to businesses have included power tools and vehicle diagnostics electronics stolen from a business in the 2200 block of Tower East, according to a report taken Friday morning with estimated losses totaling $5,925. Between Nov. 21 and 23, businesses on Rossanley Drive, Stowe Avenue, Aviation Way and Fisher Avenue all reported cash stolen from registers, safes and cash boxes, Medford police records show.
This time of year, burglary cases are more likely to be transients seeking shelter, according to Antley, not the wave of thefts police have been seeing. Illegally entering a building can be defined as a burglary, even if nothing is taken.
"It's uncommon for us to have such a rash of them in such a short time," Antley said.
Some of the businesses had security alarms, Antley said, but so far the suspects have fled before police arrive. Other businesses were less protected.
"A lot of time these crimes aren't even discovered until the next day," Antley said.
Medford police have been hitting the north part of town with extra patrols and contacting more people in the area, Antley said, but the thieves aren't limiting themselves to one part of Medford.
"It's difficult to be everywhere at once," Antley said.
Because the thieves are targeting unoccupied businesses with no recordings of the theft or the vehicle involved, police's ability to crack their cases can be limited.
"It's really discouraging when you get there and there's no physical evidence except for the point of entry," Antley said.
— Reach reporter Nick Morgan at 541-776-4471 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at @MTCrimeBeat.