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Neck tattoos prove alleged Medford robber's undoing

A Medford man's distinctive neck tattoos proved a key clue in the alleged robbery of an 18-year-old at gunpoint earlier this week.

John Calvert Meyer, 25, was arraigned Thursday in Jackson County Circuit Court on charges he robbed a Medford teenager of his backpack, cellphone and wallet early Tuesday morning in the 500 block of Edwards Street. 

The teen told police he was walking at about 3 a.m. when he saw a woman he knew sitting in a car and stopped to talk to her. Police say Meyer approached the teen, pulled out a handgun and demanded the teen's wallet, backpack and cellphone. The victim complied and fled, police say. Other witnesses who knew Meyer were able to help identify him.

"The victim did not know the suspect, but obviously noticed things about him," said Medford police Lt. Mike Budreau. "(His) neck tattoos were rather prominent."

Police caught up with Meyer two days later. Budreau said an officer responded to a fight at an apartment complex in the 300 block of Alice Street. When he showed up, a red car was leaving the complex, with several people pointing to it and saying, "that's him," as it left. The officer followed and pulled the vehicle over for failing to signal a turn, Budreau said. Meyer was in the front passenger seat.

Police recovered the stolen cellphone, but the backpack and wallet are still missing. Investigators did not recover the gun reportedly used in the robbery.

Court records show Meyer, whose address is listed in the 700 block of Stevens Street, was arraigned on felony charges of first- and second-degree robbery and unlawful use of a weapon. He also was arraigned on misdemeanor charges of menacing and second-degree theft, records show.

On Friday, Meyer remained in the Jackson County Jail on $500,000 bail. He is scheduled to be back in court for a preliminary hearing at 4 p.m. March 24, records show.

Budreau said incidents of victims being robbed by someone they don't know are rare.

"These street-type robberies usually involve a drug transaction that had gone awry," Budreau said. "This is not that case. This appears to be a legitimate stranger armed robbery."

Reach reporter Ryan Pfeil at 541-776-4468 or rpfeil@mailtribune.com. Follow him at www.twitter.com/ryanpfeil.

John Calvert Meyer