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Man charged with stealing back towed car

CENTRAL POINT — Jackson County sheriff's deputies arrested a 65-year-old Tennessee man Tuesday on robbery charges after he allegedly stole his car back from a Central-Point-area tow company along with the cash he'd just paid to bail it out.

Deputies took a report around noon of an alleged robbery at Crater Lake Towing at 956 East Vilas Rd. Store employees told dispatchers that a man who had come in to bail his car out of tow had grabbed the cash back after paying, shoved a female employee, then fled in his car. The total amount allegedly taken was over $800. The vehicle was described as a silver Toyota Echo with Tennessee plates. 

A tow company employee later found the car in the parking lot of the north Medford Wal-Mart and told deputies he had followed the suspect, Fred Shawaluk, toward the store. Deputies arrested Shawaluk inside the store around 4 p.m. 

After being read his rights, handcuffed and placed in the back of a patrol vehicle, Shawaluk asked why he was being arrested. He told deputies that he only remembered going into the business, paying and leaving in the car. 

"What about taking the money back?" a deputy asked. 

"I have no idea what you're talking about," Shawaluk said, maintaining he had no memory of the alleged theft or of pushing the tow company employee. "I never touched her," he said.

Shawaluk was lodged in the Jackson County Jail on charges of third-degree robbery and second-degree theft. His bail had not been set as of press time.

Reach reporter Thomas Moriarty at 541-776-4471, or by email at tmoriarty@mailtribune.com. Follow him at @ThomasDMoriarty.

Jackson County sheriff's Deputy Kevin Eller Tuesday places Fred Shawaluk in the back of a patrol car at the north Medford Wal-Mart. Shawaluk, 65, has been charged with third-degree robbery after allegedly stealing back his car from a Central-Point-area tow company. Mail Tribune / Thomas Moriarty