Diversion fails; Medford police make arrest
MEDFORD — A man wanted on a parole violation allegedly tried one of the oldest getaway tricks in the book Tuesday afternoon while fleeing police at the Medford Center.
Trevor Wayne Patton, 29, who is wanted for violating his parole, reportedly was a passenger in a car that struck a tree near the Medford Center.
When the car stalled, police said Patton fled the scene on foot. In an attempt to divert officers from following him, he called in a fake report of a man armed with a handgun seen running through the Medford Center's parking lot, police said.
It didn't work, but it did cause quite a stir in the parking lot of the large shopping center, Medford police Detective Sgt. Mike Budreau said.
"We will respond in force when we receive a call of a man armed with a weapon running loose in a populated area," Budreau said.
It didn't take officers long to smell a rat after it was learned Patton was inside the car that plowed through the small tree, Budreau said.
"We put it together pretty quickly," Budreau said. "But a number of officers did respond."
Officers were able to track down Patton within minutes after the false report and lodged him in jail on a parole violation.
Budreau said officers checked Patton's cell phone and found a 9-1-1 call had been placed near the time of the false report.
"It's not a new trick to us," Budreau said. "It doesn't happen often, but there are those rare times when someone will try it."
Budreau said he once worked a case where a burglar phoned in a false report of an armed man across town from where he was trying to break into a Radio Shack store.
"We figured that one out, too," Budreau said.
Even though the department dispatches a large number of officers to such reports, there are enough patrol cars on the street to cover other parts of the city, Budreau said.
"We can't send everyone we have to one report, no matter how serious it is," Budreau said. "You have to have protection in all areas at all times."
Two people riding in the car with Patton were questioned at the scene and released, Budreau said.
Patton remained lodged in the Jackson County Jail without bail late Tuesday.
Budreau described Patton as a "frequent flier" who has had a lot of contact with police over the years.
He has felony convictions for third-degree assault, possession of methamphetamine, being a felon in possession of a firearm, attempting to elude police in a vehicle and first-degree burglary, all dating back to 2000. He still owes several thousand dollars in court-ordered restitution, according to Jackson County Circuit Court records.
Reach Chris Conrad at 776-4471; or e-mail email@example.com.