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Driver in suspicious van incidents arrested on multiple charges

The van-driving suspect who allegedly attempted to initiate inappropriate contact with young girls in three separate cases recently was arrested at gunpoint Saturday in west Medford.

Leon Douglas Remstedt Jr., 41, was hauled away in handcuffs from a home in the 600 block of South Holly Street after he jumped out of the window of a home and tried to flee, Jackson County sheriff's spokeswoman Andrea Carlson said.

Deputies received a tip that Remstedt was operating the van described by witnesses, who saw a man drive up and attempt to contact young school girls in White City and Phoenix.

The incidents occurred over the past three weeks and were a cause of concern for residents in those towns, Carlson said.

"People were disturbed by this," she said. "Now we can provide piece of mind to parents in those communities."

Deputies arrived at the South Holly home around noon and attempted to contact Remstedt. They believed he was staying at the home based on a tip they had received, Carlson said.

The people living at the home, later identified as Danielle Standford and Kyle Fisher, denied that Remstedt was in their house when deputies arrived.

"We could not enter the home and search without a warrant, so we decided to wait outside the home until we were able to obtain one," Carlson said.

However, Remstedt tried to escape capture by jumping out a window and running. The deputies, armed with handguns and rifles, quickly corralled Remstedt and placed him under arrest at gunpoint, Carlson said.

The 1986 Toyota van described by witnesses was later found at an address in Central Point. The van had been covered by a tarp, presumably to keep it out of sight of law enforcement.

The van was impounded by deputies and its contents are to be analyzed in the near future, Carlson said.

"We will go over everything inside the van and see what evidence we find," she said.

Remstedt was arrested on two warrants charging him with possession of methamphetamine and a parole violation out of Klamath Falls. In addition, he was charged with being a felon in possession of a weapon and carrying a concealed weapon, attempting to elude police in a vehicle, three counts of recklessly endangering another, driving while suspended and possession of heroin.

He remained lodged in Jackson County Jail late Saturday without bail.

No charges were filed in connection with the circumstances involving the young girls, although charges involving those instances could be pending.

Standford and Fisher were arrested for hindering prosecution, a felony.

On May 1, a motorist said a beige or white van pulled up alongside a middle school girl in White City and tried to talk to her. The motorist turned around to go back, a news release said, but by then both the girl and the van were gone.

A similar incident also took place took place in Phoenix on May 18. During that incident, a man driving a light brown Toyota van drove up to a school bus stop in Phoenix. A Phoenix police officer approached as the driver of the van tried to talk to a girl.

The van sped away as the police officer rolled into the area. The officer followed and stopped the van for a traffic violation. When he asked the man to step out of the vehicle, the driver pulled back onto the road and sped away.

Police gave chase but stopped after the man drove recklessly through the WinCo parking lot and pulled back onto Riverside Avenue.

The third and final incident occurred last week near the intersection of Hale Way and Falcon Street in White City.

A girl was walking to White Mountain Middle School when a white man in his 40s driving an older, beige van pulled up next to her. The driver attempted to ask the girl several questions, including her name and where she lived, Carlson said. The girl did not respond and ran away. The driver sped away, traveling north on 24th Avenue toward Avenue G in White City.

Carlson said more information could be released as investigators continue looking into the case.

Reach reporter Chris Conrad at 541-776-4471; or email cconrad@mailtribune.com.

Driver in suspicious van incidents arrested on multiple charges