Neighbor's phone photo helps nab burglary suspect
When a suspicious-looking stranger strolled into a neighbor's yard Tuesday, Amaryllis Street resident Terry Munday took note.
In fact, he grabbed his cell phone and took a photo that Medford police credit with helping them track down a suspected burglar who was headed out of town on a Greyhound bus.
"If this citizen hadn't done this, our suspect would have been in Portland," Medford police Lt. Tim Doney said, praising Munday's quick work with his cell phone. "He was taking responsibility for his neighborhood."
Munday, 50, was working in his garage at midmorning on Tuesday when he saw a man walk into a yard across the street.
"I just thought something wasn't right," Munday said, recounting how the man walked brazenly in and out of his neighbor's yard without closing the gate.
Munday followed the man as he walked around the block, down a paved path along the North Medford High School campus and down Ramada Way. As the man hustled off, Munday circled back and got in his truck to follow, intercepting the man near Donahue-Frohnmayer Park to ask what he was doing in the neighborhood.
The man told Munday that he was looking for a friend named "Connie" but had the wrong address. Munday said there was no one by that name around the neighborhood, but he surreptitiously snapped a photo with his phone while chatting. He drove on, then pulled into a parking lot to look at the image, but decided it wasn't good enough.
"My first picture was of his butt," Munday said, explaining that he then drove around to pull up in front of the man, who was walking on Spring Street.
The quick-thinking Munday said he had just remembered a lady down the street whose name might be Connie and he wondered if that might be the man's friend. The increasingly perturbed man said it wasn't.
Munday said he pulled out his cell phone, said "By the way, smile," and snapped another photo, this time capturing a full length image showing the man's face, clothing and tattooed arms.
When Munday returned home, his neighbor was just getting home for lunch. She said no one should have been in her yard, then came out moments later to say someone had ransacked her bedroom.
She called Medford police at about 11:30 a.m. Tuesday to report the burglary and theft of jewelry valued at about $5,000.
Munday provided the photo to police, who distributed it to all patrol officers and local parole and probation officers. A parole officer recognized the man as Donnie Duane Warner, 44, who recently had been released from prison after serving a sentence for burglary, Doney said.
In 2001, Warner was arrested on burglary and theft charges after a string of daytime burglaries in which he snatched jewelry from east Medford homes, including the home of then-mayor Lindsay Berryman, Mail Tribune archives show. At that time he had a lengthy court record.
On Tuesday, police went to Warner's last known address, in the 400 block of Grape Street, where his friends reported that he had just caught a Greyhound bus and was on his way to Portland.
Medford police sent the photo and details of the reported burglary to Roseburg police and asked them to arrest Warner when the bus stopped there, Doney said. Officers arrested Warner on a parole violation charge at about 5:15 p.m. Tuesday.
He was brought back to the Jackson County Jail, where he was lodged on that charge and new charges of first-degree burglary and first-degree theft. He remained in jail without bail Tuesday.
Detectives suspect that Warner is linked to other burglaries in the Capitol Hill neighborhood of east Medford, Doney said. Although police have made some arrests in a string of cases there over the last month, they suspect Warner also played a role.
Investigators think he sold stolen jewelry and other items at a flea market at the Medford armory.
Police ask anyone who might have purchased items from the suspect to call Detective Katie Ivens at 774-2266.
Reach reporter Anita Burke at 776-4485, or e-mail email@example.com.