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Cops: Molotovs meant for nightclub

An alleged plot to torch a downtown Medford nightclub resulted in the arrests of three men this week, investigators said.

Medford police said the three men targeted Ground Zero, a club at 123 S. Front St., early Tuesday, but a security guard spotted suspicious activity and thwarted the plan, which included Molotov cocktails and three 5-gallon cans of combustible liquid.

"The security guard was in the right place at the right time," Medford police Lt. Tim Doney said. "A fire with accelerants could have endangered firefighters and others."

Detectives declined to release what they believe the suspects' motives were, but said the young men had past issues with the club.

At about 3:30 a.m. Tuesday Medford police were called to the alley in the first block of Central Avenue and Front Street to check on suspicious circumstances, Doney said. A security guard reported seeing two people in the alley behind Ground Zero. One person ran away, but the security officer detained the other man about a block away and called police.

Officers found two Molotov cocktails, made by pouring fuel in liquor bottles and stuffing them with a wick, and arrested Christopher Lee Gilbert, 19, of the 2300 block of Crater Lake Avenue, Medford, on charges of disorderly conduct and possession of a destructive device. Charges of conspiracy to commit first-degree arson and attempted first-degree arson were added later, Jackson County Circuit Court records show.

After dawn, detectives returned to the downtown alleys and found three 5-gallon cans of combustible liquid that they believed the would-be arsonists had stolen to start a fire, Doney said.

Investigators spent Tuesday talking with people downtown and collecting surveillance tapes from businesses around the area.

On Wednesday, a second suspect, Joseph Faaeteete, 19, of the 1100 block of Glen Grove Avenue, Central Point, turned himself in to Medford police and was arrested on a charge of attempted first-degree arson and two counts of possession of a destructive device. Court records show that now he faces attempted first-degree arson and conspiracy to commit first-degree arson charges.

At about 1 a.m. Friday, a third suspect, Martin Joseph Angeleas Jr., 24, of the 300 block of Howard Street, Medford, called police to turn himself in. Detectives arrested him on charges of attempted first-degree arson and conspiracy to commit first-degree arson and two counts of possession of a destructive device. He remained in Jackson County Jail Friday afternoon on $40,000 bail.

The investigation continues.