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Police identify suspect in JC Penney heist

The Medford Police Department has identified a 20-year-old man as the suspect in the April 11 burglaries at the JC Penney store in the Rogue Valley Mall and the Yellow Submarine Car Wash at 1134 Court St.

Thomas Michael Baugh has been held in the San Diego County Jail since early May on charges related to forgery and writing false checks in a separate case. He allegedly hid in the Penney's department store until after closing, stole $10,000 worth of jewelry and then smashed two glass doors to get out. Police say he went across the street and broke into the car wash. There's no evidence anything was stolen from the car wash.

Police say Baugh's face was caught on camera in both locations, but they were still unable to identify him at the time of the incidents. Only recently did they identify the suspect as Baugh and discover that he was being held in the San Diego County Jail. He was arrested by the Coronado Police Department on May 2.

On Wednesday, Medford detectives met with Baugh regarding the burglaries. Sgt. Mike Budreau did not say whether Baugh had admitted to the crimes or was cooperating with police. He did say that after the meeting police served a search warrant and were able to recover a small portion of the missing jewelry.

"We recovered less than 5 percent of it," Budreau said.

In addition to his charges in San Diego County, Baugh is now lodged in the San Diego County Jail on a warrant for two counts of second-degree burglary, one count of aggravated theft and two counts of first- and second-degree criminal mischief in connection with the Medford crimes.

According to a Medford Police Department news release, Baugh will be extradited to Medford. Budreau said the police are not sure when that will happen. Baugh still faces charges in California and his next court date is Wednesday in Chula Vista, Calif.

Mat Wolf is a reporting intern. Reach him at 541-776-4481 or by email at mwolf@mailtribune.com.