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Medford and Ashland gym thefts lead to arrest

A Washington man faces multiple theft and identity theft charges for his alleged involvement in a spree of locker room thefts at three gyms in two Southern Oregon cities involving at least six victims.

Matthew Mario Malouf, 26, of Edmonds, Washington, is accused of thefts from two Medford fitness centers last week and one Ashland gym last month. Malouf and as-yet unnamed female accomplices allegedly racked up thousands of dollars worth of charges on multiple victims’ bank cards.

Medford police arrested Malouf Friday evening following thefts reported May 9 from the Medford YMCA and May 10 from Village Fitness at the Medford Center, each followed by transactions in the hundreds of dollars at Medford grocery stores and big-box stores, according to court documents.

Shortly after the Medford YMCA theft and an ensuing vehicle break-in May 9, police say Malouf was caught on surveillance video at a nearby Safeway attempting to make a $921 charge that didn’t go through on one victim’s debit and credit cards, then he allegedly tried to buy prepaid Visa gift cards and food with another victim’s card. Police said he admitted his actions after they showed him surveillance stills of a person making the fraudulent charges while wearing the same clothes he was wearing.

“I contacted Malouf and saw he perfectly and completely matched the suspect male in the video surveillance footage,” according to a court document filed by Medford police. “I showed him the photos I had of him, and he said, ‘I’m f---ed.’”

After two victims reported wallets stolen at Village Fitness, Malouf and the other alleged accomplices allegedly made a $399 purchase at Best Buy in Medford, attempted to make $996 and $971 purchases at Medford Fred Meyer stores and got a $455 charge to go through.

Medford police stopped him just after 7 p.m. Friday near the North Fred Meyer, where they allegedly found at least one of the Village Fitness victims’ credit cards in Malouf’s wallet.

After officers read Malouf his rights, he told them he was “stealing cards and money because he was trying to save money to travel to Las Vegas with the suspect females,” police said.

Malouf also faces charges from an April 2 gym theft at the Ashland YMCA in which two victims reported losses of $2,375 and $987, according to court documents filed Wednesday by Ashland police.

Malouf made court appearances Monday and Wednesday in Jackson County Circuit Court, records show. As of Wednesday evening, he remained in jail on $75,000 bail.

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

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