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Kids catch burglar in the act

A 14-year-old boy's phone call led to an alleged burglar's capture Tuesday, Medford police say.

At about 9:30 a.m., a 14-year-old boy and his two younger brothers heard a window break and footsteps downstairs at their home in the 400 block of Benson Street. The boy called 911 and hid upstairs with his brothers, ages 7 and 10, Medford police Lt. Kerry Curtis said.

Within four minutes, police saw Jovani Sanchez-Portillo, 30, walking away from the house. 

Curtis commended the boys for alerting the police right away and for not confronting the intruder.

“The 14-year-old did a really good job calling 911,” Curtis said. “Because of his quick decision-making, we were able to catch him in a timely manner.”

Sanchez-Portillo left the home without taking anything, Curtis said, but he had been in jail just hours before.

At about 2:20 p.m. Monday, Sanchez-Portillo ran away from police during a traffic stop near Royal Avenue and Stevens Street. In an effort to elude a police warrant, he allegedly forced a woman to let him into her apartment in the 600 block of Royal Avenue, a Medford police release said. The woman escaped and notified police.

Sanchez-Portillo was charged Monday afternoon with contempt of court for previous charges of unlawful use of a weapon and resisting arrest, the release said.

“It was very alarming to know that within hours of his release, he was back at it,” Curtis said.

After his arrest Tuesday, Sanchez-Portillo was jailed on felony charges of first-degree burglary and methamphetamine possession, misdemeanor charges of felon in possession of a restricted weapon, carrying a concealed weapon, second-degree trespassing and second-degree criminal mischief. He was held on $78,000 bail.

Court records show that Sanchez-Portillo has twice faced felony charges. He pleaded down to misdemeanors on a charge of burglary in 2010, and a 2015 case of first-degree burglary was dismissed because a key witness couldn't be located. 

The 2015 case alleged that on Nov. 30, Sanchez-Portillo charged into a man's residence in the 600 block of North Columbus Avenue, maced the victim and threatened to shoot him with a gun in an altercation regarding someone who used to live in the house.

Reach reporter Nick Morgan at 541-776-4471 or nmorgan@mailtribune.com. Follow him on Twitter at @MTCrimeBeat.

Jovani Sanchez-Portillo