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Worker suspected of robbery setup

Medford police believe a Jack In The Box manager colluded with a suspected robber in a New Year's Eve heist at the fast-food restaurant on East Barnett Road.

Carlos Ray Morales, 27, was the acting manager of the restaurant and reported that a man entered the business and forced him into a back room where money was kept. He told police the suspect fled with cash and disappeared into a nearby neighborhood.

But police believe the two staged the robbery and planned to share the proceeds, Medford police Deputy Chief Tim George said. "Things are not always as they seem," George said. "We see this happen in businesses sometimes."

Medford detectives have charged Morales and Tony Lamar Carr, 28, with first-degree theft. Carr was cited and released on his own recognizance.

In addition, Morales was charged with initiating a false police report. He remained lodged in the Jackson County Jail last Wednesday on $9,000 bail.

Carr was never employed at the Jack In The Box, but his girlfriend did work at the restaurant at one time, George said.

The scripted robbery netted the alleged thieves at least $750, which is the minimum amount police need to lodge a charge of first-degree theft, police said.

Last February Jackson County sheriff's detectives discovered a robbery of a White City Subway was a case of an employee working with a friend to split the stolen cash. The pair were charged with theft and burglary.

"These cases do drain resources that could be better spent in other ways," George said. "It takes a lot of manpower to investigate the front end of an actual robbery, only to learn after the fact that it was staged."

Reach reporter Chris Conrad at 776-4471; or e-mail cconrad@mailtribune.com.