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Medford police arrest purse snatching suspects

The woman suspected of injuring an 80-year-old woman when she tried to steal her purse in a Medford parking lot has been identified.

Medford police reported 23-year-old Kandra Julee Towry was arrested Friday night and lodged in the Jackson County Jail. Agency officials said they also arrested and lodged her boyfriend, 26-year-old Alejandro Morales, who they suspect of being the getaway driver in the April 12 incident  in the Medford Lowe's parking lot. Both were arraigned Monday in Jackson County Circuit Court on charges of third-degree robbery and fourth-degree assault.

The strong-arm robbery attempt occurred at about 10:45 a.m. Tuesday outside the business in the 3600 block of Crater Lake Highway. Grainy surveillance footage shows a gold-colored SUV with paper covering the license plates pulling up close to the entrance. A woman jumps out and walks to the entrance out of the frame. Seconds later, the woman retreats, pursued by the 80-year-old woman she attempted to rob before jumping in SUV and driving away. The woman is left on the ground with injuries to her knee and left hand, still with her purse.

A probable cause affidavit says Towry and Morales had planned to steal a purse that day, then drove through the parking lot lot looking for a target.

"Towry and Morales agreed the elderly female would make an easy victim, and they agreed to steal her purse," the affidavit reads.

Detective Sgt. Brent Mak said tracking down the suspects began with a group called the Rogue Valley Loss Prevention Association, made up of various police officers and loss prevention officials from 27 Southern Oregon businesses, some of which are as far away as Klamath Falls. Members meet monthly and swap information with each other pertaining to theft-related investigations.

“We have a really good working relationship,” Mak said, "We share a ton of info. I immediately reached out to them.”

Mak said he wanted to see if cameras from the Walmart near Lowe's had captured any images of the suspects.

"If they were basically trolling in the Lowe's parking lot, they were probably trolling the Walmart parking lot as well, and they were," Mak said."(A camera) showed the vehicle, and it showed the male coming into the store."

Police put the images out on Facebook, and a series of tips came in.

"There were a ton," Mak said.

Investigators then tracked Morales and Towry to a home in the 2000 block of Bradbury Street. There they found a sports utility vehicle matching the description of the getaway vehicle and clothing the pair had been wearing at the time of the alleged theft attempt. Towry and Morales were booked into the jail Saturday.

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