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Crime Stoppers mugs help nab suspects

A newspaper-reading manager at Sears helped Medford police capture two men suspected of using false information to steal thousands of dollars worth of items last week from three local retailers.

Larry Cheak Yan Sum, 34, and Hon Chun Lau, 30, were arrested Sunday by Medford police, who tracked them down a short time after receiving a call from a loss-prevention officer at Sears' Medford Center location.

A store manager had the officer make the call because he believed the men who were in the store filling out a credit application were the same people whose mug shots appeared in a Crime Stoppers item in Sunday's , said the store's general manager.

They said they definitely would not have noticed at all, except for the Crime Stoppers thing, Mike Beugli said.

Police suspect Lau and Sum used false information on credit applications to purchase computers, jewelry and other items last week from three Medford retailers.

— They tried to do the same thing at Sears, but destroyed the credit application and left in a hurry after becoming nervous, Beugli said.

The guy said 'I guess I don't need credit anyway', Beugli said. He ripped up the app and took off.

A worker got a license plate number from the suspects' vehicle and gave it to police, who caught up to Sum and Lau a few minutes later, Medford police Lt. Tim George said.

Police believe that after committing thefts last week in Medford, the men returned home to the Bay Area. George said Sum and Lau came back to Oregon in the same rented 2004 Ford Explorer they were seen in last week.

They got a little greedy, George said. I think they thought Medford was an easy mark, but as it turned out, Medford was not an easy mark.

Police believe the pair took the stolen items to another location and sold them on the street, George said. Police served a warrant and were searching the rented vehicle Tuesday for evidence.

Sum, of San Francisco and Lau, of Oakland, were both lodged in the Jackson County Jail on warrants charging them with first-degree theft and identity theft. They were released Tuesday after each posting &

36;100,000 bail, according to a jail spokeswoman.

Reach reporter Jack Moran at 776-4459, or e-mail