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Suspect in Subway robberies caught

Medford police are investigating whether a Sutherlin man facing attempted-robbery charges might have been involved in several recent robberies at Subway sandwich shops.

Shane Jonathan James Whelchel, 24, was arraigned in Jackson County Circuit Court Thursday on charges of first-degree attempted robbery, unlawful possession of a firearm and carrying and using a dangerous weapon.

Medford police arrested Whelchel early Christmas morning after he was spotted near the Subway restaurant at 1550 Biddle Road around 11 p.m. Dec. 24.

A Jackson County parole and probation officer, Stephen Ettlich, reported to police that a suspicious-looking man was lingering near the Subway, which has been robbed five times in the past two and a half years, Medford police Detective Sgt. Roy Skinner said.

Two officers chased Whelchel on foot, and police found duct tape, a mask and a handgun in some bushes, Skinner said. He said Whelchel admitted the tape, mask and gun were his.

The combination of items Whelchel carried, his behavior, the location and the hour ' closing time for the sandwich shop ' led police to suspect Whelchel was plotting a robbery and gave officers cause to arrest him, Skinner said.

Police continue to investigate whether Whelchel was involved in a robbery at the Biddle Road Subway Dec. — and one at the North Phoenix Road Subway on Dec. 22. Police said those robberies might be linked.

After appearing in court Thursday, Whelchel remained in the Jackson County Jail. He must post &

36;100,000 bail to be released. He is set to appear Jan. 2 for a preliminary hearing on the attempted-robbery and weapons charges.

Shane Whelchel