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Robbery trio thought near border

Police believe the suspects behind the string of Rogue Valley armed robberies are hiding out in or near Mexico.

The men have evaded capture and are thought to be in either Southern California or Northern Mexico, FBI officials said in a news release.

The FBI has also identified a third man involved in the heists. Micah Joe Downing, 33, whose last known address was the 1400 block of Pleasant Street in Medford, is believed to be involved in three local bank robberies and robberies at a number of Medford taverns and Purple Parrot video lottery stores. He is suspected of being the getaway driver in the Washington Mutual bank robbery in Gold Hill earlier this month, officials said.

Downing is described as a white male, 6 feet tall with brown hair and hazel eyes. He has the word Outlaw tattooed on his lower back and Downing tattooed on his upper right arm. He has a 3-inch scar on his head, officials said.

According to court records, Downing was convicted of fourth-degree assault and coercion in 2001.

— The FBI thinks that Downing is on the run with Daniel Jay Silva, 28, of the 200 block of Whitman Place in Medford. Silva was indicted two weeks ago on charges of first- and second-degree robbery, conspiracy to commit robbery and aggravated first-degree theft for his part in the robbery spree.

Silva may be traveling with a young, white adult woman and her 3-year-old son. In the past, he has used the alias Edward Hart, officials said.

One of the suspected bandits, Thomas Ray Taylor, 32, of the 700 block of Royal Ave., was arrested Sept. 7 on a parole violation after a traffic stop in Medford. He remains in police custody.

In addition to the Gold Hill bank heist, the men are wanted for the July 14 robbery of a PremierWest Bank in Dorris, Calif., and the June 20 hold-up of a Bank of America branch in Medford, officials said.

Anyone with information on the suspects' location is asked to call the nearest FBI office. In Portland, the number is 503-224-4181; in Medford, it is 541-773-2942.

Reach reporting intern Chris Conrad at 776-4471, or e-mail Robbery trio thought near border"cconrad@mailtribune.com.