Suspect in rooftop burglary spree arrested today

Police have arrested a Medford-area transient in connection with a string of rooftop business burglaries this month.

Samuel Edward Smith Jr., 39, was nabbed today during a car stop by Medford police.

Smith, who has a long criminal history, has been lodged in the Jackson County Jail on five counts of second-degree burglary, two counts of first-degree criminal mischief and one counts of second-degree theft.

Police believe they have tied Smith to five of the nine of the burglaries. He has formally been charged with the burglaries of the Minute Market on Highland Drive, a vacant business next to the market and three businesses on 711 E. Main St., all in Medford.

"We have physical evidence linking him to these five cases," George said.

George declined to comment on the nature of the physical evidence.

"This has cleared five of the nine cases and we suspect him for the remaining four," George added.

Other rooftop burglaries were reported at Westminster Presbyterian Church, 2000 Oakwood Drive, Reef Tech, an aquarium supply store at 625 E. Jackson St.

Live coral and fish, along with four $2,000 EcoRay LED lights, were stolen from Reef Tech.

Additionally, Rogue Valley Pet and Cost Cutters, which are adjacent to each other on East Barnett Road, were burglarized on Dec. 18 by someone who entered one business and accessed the adjoining business by going through the wall.

The latest burglary was reported Thursday morning at a computer business at 711 E. Main St. Again, the intruder entered through the roof, this time stealing four Macintosh laptops.

"We have detectives out looking for the stolen items to return to the victims," George said.

Anyone with additional information regarding these burglaries is asked to call Medford police Detective Katherine Ivens at 541-774-2266.

— Chris Conrad

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