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Coffee stand robber gets 20 years

A Medford man faces two decades in prison for a string of strong-armed coffee stand robberies committed while on parole for robbing a bank.

Jason Lee Swindler, 48, was sentenced to 20 years in prison Wednesday in Jackson County Circuit Court, a week after being found guilty in four robberies at Medford coffee stands last year.

Swindler had recently been released from prison for a 2012 Ashland bank robbery when he began the new string of robberies the evening of Jan. 17, 2017, at a Dutch Bros. stand at 1227 Stewart Ave., according to Chief Deputy District Attorney Jeremy Markiewicz, who prosecuted Swindler’s case in the nearly three-day trial last week.

“He’d only been out of prison about six months,” Markiewicz said.

At 6:37 that evening, Swindler reportedly rode his bike to the stand wearing distinctive glasses, mismatched gray and black gloves, and a hood and ballcap disguising his face, then demanded cash, according to Markiewicz.

Swindler robbed a Human Bean stand on East Barnett at 6:45 p.m. March 8 wearing similar mismatched gray gloves with his face covered and a hood over his head. He demanded money from both tills and fled on a bike.

Swindler returned to the Dutch Bros. stand on Stewart Avenue at 7:39 p.m. Dec. 3, wearing a similar disguise of glasses, a hooded jacket and mismatched gray gloves. Swindler hid his left hand during the robbery, in an “awkward angle” to imply he was armed, according to Markiewicz.

Surveillance footage captured Dec. 18 during a robbery of a Dutch Bros. on Summit Avenue led to his capture, according to news reports. Medford police posted surveillance photos to the agency’s Facebook page, garnering tips that led to Swindler’s Dec. 22 arrest.

After searching Swindler’s home in the 1300 block of Dakota Avenue and his car, police found a shirt, glove, glasses, baseball cap, athletic pants and sweatshirt matching witness descriptions, according to Markiewicz.

Only one victim spoke at Swindler’s sentencing hearing Wednesday, expressing “how it personally affected her and still is,” according to Markiewicz. The woman wasn’t the only young adult affected, Markiewicz said, expressing how one victim changed her shift, another barista is now apprehensive when customers approach the window, and another quit.

“I think every one of the victims in this case was traumatized by his actions,” Markiewicz said.

A jury found Swindler guilty May 24 on two counts of second-degree robbery, which carries a mandatory-minimum 70-month prison sentence under Oregon’s Measure 11 sentencing law, and four counts of third-degree robbery, following 2 1/2 days of trial and deliberations that lasted about 2 hours, according to Markiewicz.

Swindler previously served a 45-month prison sentence for robbing what was then the Bank of America at 2305 Ashland St., in June 2012. An Ashland police officer spotted him on a bike within 10 minutes of the robbery and tackled him, according to news reports.

A court document filed Monday by Swindler’s court-appointed defense lawyer, Zachary Light, described Swindler as “extremely remorseful” for his actions, and pointed to opiate addiction as the root of his crimes. Swindler’s mother and 87-year-old grandmother wrote letters on his behalf.

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

Jason Lee Swindler (Jackson County Jail mugshot)