Trail camera catches pot thief suspect
A grower who had $9,000 worth of marijuana stolen used a trail camera to catch the alleged thief, according to the Jackson County Sheriff's Office.
Jordan Richard Rock, 22, of the 7400 block of Highway 227 in Trail, faces charges of first-degree burglary, first-degree theft and second-degree criminal mischief after allegedly breaking into the grower's Shady Cove home on March 16 and stealing a garbage bag full of marijuana from a closet. He failed to appear in Jackson County Circuit Court on Thursday for the burglary case and nine other pending cases. A warrant was issued for his arrest.
On March 16, the grower came home to find the door of his house had been kicked in and the marijuana was missing, the grower said. The Mail Tribune is not using his name for safety reasons.
After the alleged burglary, Rock and a second male were stopped by an Oregon State Police trooper, but the trooper did not see a bag of marijuana in their vehicle, according to a probable cause affidavit by the sheriff's office.
A sheriff's office community service officer responded to the grower's report of a burglary. The officer advised the grower to search the surrounding area because the burglars may have stashed the marijuana somewhere, with the intent to return later, the affidavit said.
The grower said his girlfriend found the bag of marijuana hidden in a draw under boughs.
The grower "replaced the garbage bag full of marijuana with an identical garbage bag full of leaves," the affidavit said.
The grower said he covered up the bag with branches and set up a trail camera he owns in hopes of capturing images of Rock and the other male. The grower said he was familiar with Rock because a carpenter came to his property to do work and Rock was hanging around with the carpenter. The grower said Rock knew he kept marijuana in his back closet.
"The officer said the only way we would be able to get him would be proof," the grower told the Mail Tribune. "They came back at three in the morning with head lamps on. The trail camera got shots of them. It put the nail in the coffin."
A co-defendant has not yet been named in the case, according to court records.
The grower said he had previously used the trail camera to shoot images of wildlife. Before capturing images of the alleged burglars, his most memorable shots were of a golden eagle feeding on a dead deer.
"Now that I got robbed, I'm going to put them up all over," he said. "It's the only way to catch a thief."
The grower said he is frustrated that Rock has a long history of crime and drug use.
According to court records, Rock's past convictions include first-degree theft, third-degree theft and second-degree criminal trespassing. Charges in his multiple pending cases include heroin possession, second-degree theft, third-degree theft, first-degree burglary and reckless driving.
In one of the theft cases, Rock was allegedly attempting to steal a $999 generator when the homeowner confronted him. Rock reportedly dropped the generator and drove away. In another theft case, Rock had just allegedly pawned a piece of landscaping equipment for a fraction of its value when the angry owner arrived at the pawn shop, according to affidavits in the cases.
The grower said perhaps Rock should be incarcerated for a long stretch of time and receive drug treatment.
"He's not going to let up," the grower said. "He's going to get caught in a house someday and be killed. . . . He's a menace to everyone around. He needs to be stopped. How do you stop him? I don't know what the answer is."
In May, 29-year-old Dylan James Stratford was sentenced to five years in prison after pleading guilty to two-dozen drug-fueled burglaries of homes in the Wimer area.
To catch him, sheriff's Detective Ben Weaver set up a trail camera and captured images of Stratford visiting a stash of stolen items in the woods.