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Locals help police catch theft suspects during crime spree

GOLD HILL — Three men were arrested Wednesday night with the help of local residents after the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office caught them in the midst of a crime spree.

At 9 p.m. Wednesday, sheriff’s deputies responded to the area of North River Road in Gold Hill for a reported theft. The victim said three men in a white Nissan Sentra had snatched her purse from her vehicle, then fled toward Gold Hill, according to a news advisory from the sheriff’s office.

While deputies were investigating the theft, another call came in from Old Stage Road of a similar incident.

A resident said she found three men going through her father’s vehicle as she arrived home. She confronted the men, and the three fled toward Gold Hill in a car. A victim of that incident followed in his vehicle, called 911, and gave updates to police. The suspects were driving recklessly, and the victim could not safely follow, so he pulled over at the Moose Lodge to speak to incoming deputies, police said.

While JCSO spoke with that victim, a third call came in of three men who appeared to be looking into vehicles on Fifth Avenue in Gold Hill. The men fled and were followed by another resident.

Deputies spotted the suspect car and attempted to stop it, but the men fled southbound on Blackwell Road from the Gold Hill bridge. Oregon State Police, Central Point police and Rogue River police assisted with the pursuit, the advisory said.

A JCSO patrol car conducted a “pursuit intervention technique” on the fleeing vehicle near the MJ Market, and the three suspects were taken into custody, police said.

One of the suspects said he swallowed fentanyl, and police administered three doses of Narcan before he was transported to a local hospital via ambulance and cleared for confinement. While at the hospital, the suspect allegedly resisted being placed in handcuffs and attempted to spit on a deputy, leading to a resisting arrest charge, police said.

The driver, Weston Nicholy Walker, 19, of Woodland, Washington, was charged with elude in a vehicle, reckless driving, second-degree theft, unauthorized entry of a motor vehicle and trespassing.

Walter Surbrook, 18, of Medford, was charged with trespassing, theft and unauthorized entry of a motor vehicle.

Israel James Lofdahl, 20, of Rogue River, was charged with unauthorized entry of a motor vehicle, trespassing, theft and resisting arrest.

The vehicle, a white 2011 Nissan Sentra, was seized pending a search warrant to recover stolen property.

The suspects broke into multiple vehicles in the Gold Hill area during their crime spree, police said. Anyone who believes their vehicle was broken into the night of Wednesday, July 27, was asked to call the JCSO Tip Line at 541-774-8333.