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Car thefts spike in Medford

“If only the sock monkey could talk,” a Medford police officer told Lindsey Thomas after finding her stolen Subaru Impreza abandoned in an alley in west Medford last Friday.

The car, one of 22 stolen in the last three weeks in Medford, had been missing less than 10 hours, but it was littered with two bullet casings, a used syringe, women’s undergarments, a bloody hospital blanket, drug bags, cigarette butts, a broken broom and a sock monkey.

Thomas, a teacher at Wilson Elementary School, was leaving for work about 7 a.m. last Friday when she discovered her car was missing.

It was later determined the car thieves had broken into her boyfriend’s car, where they found keys to her car, giving them a ticket to a wild night.

The car was involved in a hit-and- run about 9 a.m. Friday in Ashland, and police found it about 1 p.m. Friday in an alley off Dakota Avenue in Medford. A neighbor told police the car had been parked there since 11 a.m.

“It was really, really, really gross,” Thomas said, adding it reminded her of a scene from the movie “The Hangover.”

Mud was smeared across the seats. The center console had been ripped apart. The driver’s side of the car was smashed. And, as a final touch, a Dutch Bros. sticker had been applied to the back window and an air freshener hung on the rearview mirror.

In addition to the $8,000 in damages done to the car, the car thieves stole three pair of Oakley sunglasses and Thomas’ soccer gear, pickleball racket and several articles of clothing.

One of the suspects left her wallet and phone in the car. However, police have yet to make an arrest in the case, said Medford police Lt. Mike Budreau.

“But we have solid suspect information and are actively trying to locate the suspects,” he said.

“The last couple weeks have been stolen car, stolen car, stolen car,” said Budreau, adding that the recent spike is probably the work of a few individuals.

In most cases, the car thieves steal the car while it’s warming up, break into the car and find a spare set of keys, or get a hold of the keys by other means, said Budreau, adding that 15 cars were stolen in the entire month of March last year.

“We think it’s mostly low-level drug users and thieves who come across the keys and use the car to get from point A to point B,” he said. “They drive it like they stole it. And it’s not uncommon to find the car down some dirt road or maybe off an embankment.”

Medford police have been able to locate the majority of the stolen cars and have made arrests in about half of the cases. 

Reach reporter Teresa Thomas at 541-776-4497 or tthomas@mailtribune.com. Follow her at www.twitter.com/teresathomas_mt.