'Lucky break' leads to arrest in RV break-ins, police say

Jackson County Sheriff's Department detectives found items taken in a string of recent recreation vehicle break-ins while they were searching for evidence in a separate case Tuesday.

Their discovery led to the arrest of one suspect, the identity of a second suspect and the recovery some of the swiped loot.

"This is no question a lucky break," Medford police Lt. Mike Budreau said.

Police arrested Michael Todd Diehl, 44, on numerous charges of second-degree burglary, first-degree theft, and being a felon in possession of a weapon. He was lodged in the Jackson County Jail, where he remained this morning on $55,000 bail, jail records show.

Police also said they want to talk to a second man Brandon Glen Bigham, 22, who they suspect was involved in the thefts. Bigham is wanted for questioning related to this case and also has several warrants out for his arrest related to failing to appear on past drug charges and giving false information to a police officer.

Authorities allege Diehl and Bigham broke into four Rogue Valley storage businesses and stole guns, ammunition and electronics from recreational vehicles parked there over the past two weekends.

"We know that, in talking to Mr. Deihl, that a lot of the property was traded for drugs or pawned for quick cash," Budreau said. "That's what makes it so difficult to get this property back."

Police said 22 victims have reported thefts from their RVs stored at Mini Storage Warehouse, 2700 Bullock Road; South Medford Mini Storage, 3071 Samike Drive, Lock N Key Storage, 1669 Coker Butte Road; and Storage Emporium, 4707 Table Rock Road, Central Point.

The items reportedly taken included weapons, ammunition, compound bows, flat-screen televisions, walkie-talkies, media players, and cash, police said. The RVs were damaged when suspects broke in. Video surveillance pointed to two suspects being involved.

On Tuesday, sheriff's detectives searching a home in the 900 block of Niantic Street on an unrelated case found a Bushmaster M4 rifle that was reported stolen from an RV at Lock N Key Storage on Monday. They also determined that Diehl was living in a 26-foot travel trailer that had been stolen May 28 from the 3600 block of Aviation Way, Medford, and was now parked on Niantic Street

"(Police) have only recovered a small amount of the property that was taken," Budreau said. "We do anticipate there could be more victims."

The case remains under investigation.

— Ryan Pfeil

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