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Police station vandalism helps close Medford burglary case

A brazen case of graffiti near the Medford police station also helped police close a bizarre burglary from nearly a year ago in which one suspect knew his alleged accomplice only by the nickname “Vandal.”

Auston Lee Lindsey, 24, charged earlier this week with misdemeanor vandalism and felony drug possession after he allegedly tagged a concrete structure near the Medford police station before dawn Tuesday morning, now faces felony burglary charges accusing him of stealing more than $5,000 worth of furniture Oct. 23, 2018, from a newly built house on display in northwest Medford, according to documents filed in Jackson County Circuit Court, and then staging the furniture in a nearby field.

Lindsey’s alleged accomplice in the Medford police station vandalism, John Allen Riley, also was charged and convicted in the furniture burglary earlier this year, court records show. Last May, Riley was sentenced to 30 days in jail and 3 years probation.

Corroborating Lindsey’s alleged involvement in the furniture burglary were fingerprints left on a pair of half-drank Crystal Geyser water bottles recovered near the furniture in the 1500 block of Kings Highway, according to police.

Medford police sent the bottles to the Oregon State Police forensics lab for fingerprint analysis in late October of last year, and on June 12 the crime lab identified Lindsey’s fingerprints on the bottle.

In the days that followed the furniture burglary investigation last year, Riley allegedly told police that he only knew his suspect by the nickname “Vandal,” according to court documents filed by Medford police.

Lindsey allegedly tagged the same name, “Vandal,” when he vandalized concrete near the police station just after 2 a.m. Tuesday; however, Lindsey allegedly denied any involvement in the furniture burglary, court documents filed by police say.

Lindsey made his initial court appearance Wednesday on charges of first-degree burglary, first-degree theft and first-degree trespassing. As of Thursday evening, he and Riley remained held in the Jackson County Jail without bail.

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

Auston Lee Lindsey, left, and John Allen Riley each face charges in a Medford police station vandalism. Medford police photos.