Up on the rooftop, a busy burglar wreaks havoc
Medford police are seeking the public's help finding a busy rooftop burglar who has broken into eight businesses since Dec. 15.
The first burglary was reported at the Westminster Presbyterian Church at 2000 Oakwood Drive. The suspect entered the church through the roof and stole a Dell Inspiron computer tower valued at $800, Medford Police Chief Tim George said.
On that same night, the burglar broke into Reef Tech, an aquarium supply store at 625 E. Jackson St.
This proved a more lucrative score, George said.
"He stole four EcoRay LED aquarium lights, which cost around $2,000 apiece," George said.
In addition, the suspect made off with live coral and various fish. The total value of the lost merchandise is $10,000.
On Dec. 18, Rogue Valley Pet and Cost Cutters, which are adjacent to each other on East Barnett Road, were burglarized by a suspect entering one business and cutting through a wall into the next.
"He entered through the roof of one business and then cut his way through the sheetrock wall to enter the business next door," George said. "This guy is very active."
The rash continued later that night, when the suspect broke into the Minute Market on Highland Drive and a vacant business next door. While inside the Minute Market, the man vandalized a cappuccino machine, causing water damage.
Surveillance video at the Minute Market shows the suspect wearing a blue sweatshirt and a white T-shirt to cover his face.
The latest burglary was reported Thursday morning at a computer business at 711 E. Main St. Again, the suspect entered through the roof, this time stealing four Macintosh laptops.
George said the man gained access to the businesses through vents and various doorways on the rooftops of each business.
"We don't think he's a large man, because he had to fit through some tight places," George said.
Investigators are sure the burglaries are the work of the same man.
"He's going about this the same way each time," George said. "We want to get him before he does this again."
George said the weather has been an accessory to the burglaries.
"We have had several very long and dark nights with a lot of freezing fog," George said. "It's the perfect cover for this activity."
Police are looking for tips that could help crack the case. George is asking the public to keep an eye out, especially late at night after closing hours.
"If you see someone suspicious hanging out after a business has closed, give us a call," George said.
If you have information on these crimes, or can identify the suspect or suspects, please contact Crime Stoppers of Southern Oregon at 1-800-850-0580 and refer to case number KMED 122111.
Crime Stoppers will pay a reward up to $1,000 for information that leads to an arrest in this case or any unsolved criminal activity. Callers can remain anonymous. The reward is sponsored by Mercedes Benz of Medford.
— Chris Conrad