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Police at last nab slippery suspect who ran off twice

After a month on his trail, Medford police arrested a man suspected of committing at least six Rogue Valley burglaries.

Matthew Keith Bertrand, 29, was found Wednesday in the 5900 block of Highway 238, between Jacksonville and Ruch, where he attempted to flee as police pulled up to the residence.

Medford police were directed to the home by an anonymous tip called in earlier in the day, said Medford police Lt. Bob Hansen.

He said the residence where Bertrand was arrested likely is owned by an acquaintance of the alleged burglar. Jackson County property documents list the property owner as Stanley J. Arkin.

Medford police used its SWAT team, detectives, and the Medford Area Drug and Gang Enforcement team to set up a perimeter around the home before patrol cars pulled into the driveway.

"He tried taking off into the trees ... but he didn't make it far," Hansen said.

"Tactically, I don't want to get into our tricks of the trade, but obviously he was not opposed to eluding police, so we took a lot of precaution with him today," said Medford police Deputy Chief Tim George.

No shots were fired during the arrest, and no one was injured, Hansen said.

Bertrand was charged with four counts of first-degree burglary, three counts of first-degree theft and one count of unauthorized use of a motor vehicle. He was lodged in the Jackson County Jail on $262,000 bail.

Before receiving the tip that led to Bertrand's arrest, police surrounded and checked an apartment complex for him Wednesday morning on Barnett Road in Medford, where he was known to frequent, but he wasn't there, Hansen said.

Allegedly known for his daylight burglaries, Bertrand gained notoriety for back-to-back incidents in which he thwarted police efforts to apprehend him.

On March 4, Bertrand was spotted walking near Edgemont Drive in Medford, but as police set up a perimeter to entrap him, he was able to escape. The next day, Bertrand was again spotted walking in pubic, this time on East Barnett Road in Medford, but again he was able to avoid police.

After the March 5 incident, George referred to Bertrand as "public enemy No. 1 for the Medford Police Department."

"We had been spending a lot of time and energy on his trail, so it feels good to finally get him," George said.

Hansen said no missing items were located at the residence where Bertrand was found and no other arrests have been made, but the investigation is ongoing.

"He was a one-person crime spree that had been raising havoc for quite a while now, and we're sure happy to have him in custody," George said.

Bertrand is suspected of breaking into at least four east Medford homes and two Phoenix homes, Hansen said.

Guns, jewelry, cash, a mountain bike, and a JanSport brand backpack are among the items reported missing from those homes.

"We've taken somebody that has violated the privacy and well-being of many of our citizens," Hansen said. "Hopefully it's helped the entire valley feel a lot safer, now that we have this guy."

Sam Wheeler is a reporter for the Mail Tribune. Reach him at 541-776-4468 or e-mail samuelcwheeler@gmail.com.

Police at last nab slippery suspect who ran off twice