Burglary spree has Medford police on the hunt

Faced with a string of unsolved burglaries in east Medford, police have found a disturbing pattern of criminals breaking into houses during the day.

In five unsolved burglaries this month, investigators suspect burglars broke in during the day while people were away from their homes, sometimes only for a few hours, Medford police Detective Sgt. Mike Budreau said. Another five daytime burglaries reported in September also remain unsolved.

"It is high to have that many," he said, noting that criminals who brazenly break into homes during the day while people are out and about are of particular concern to police.

The most recent case was in the 200 block of South Barneburg Road on Tuesday, Budreau said. A couple in their 60s left at 1 p.m. and returned at 4:30 p.m. to find that a burglar had opened a rear window that was blocked with a dowel to get inside their home. The burglar took money and jewelry, and ransacked a medicine cabinet.

Another midday burglary was reported Oct. 19 in the 1500 block of Oregon Avenue, Budreau said. The burglar entered that home between 9:30 a.m. and 2 p.m. and reportedly took cash.

Two other burglaries were discovered in evenings when people returned from a day away. On Oct. 1, a home in the 2400 block of Greenbrook Drive was broken into between 8:40 a.m. and 7 p.m. and jewelry and money taken, police reports show. On Oct. 3, a burglary was reported in the 1400 block of Ridge Way by residents who had been away from home between 10:30 a.m. and 10 p.m.

Police suspect that on Oct. 17, a burglar entered a home in the 1500 block of Grand Avenue and stole Victoria's Secret perfume, pain medication and toilet paper. The resident had been away from 8 a.m. Oct. 17 to 10 a.m. Monday, Budreau said.

In a burglary reported at midday Saturday in the 1300 block of Hillcourt Street, a burglar stole cash, jewelry, a radio and an iPod while the residents were away from 8 p.m. Saturday until midday Sunday, police reports said.

Budreau suspects that the daytime burglaries are likely being committed by the same person or group.

In each case the criminals have entered through back doors or windows that are partially concealed behind houses so they are less likely to be seen from the street, he said. They reportedly have stolen a variety of things, including cash, jewelry, electronics and prescription medication, but have ransacked homes to find those valuable and portable items.

"I think that when we catch someone, we will clear a lot of cases," Budreau said.

He said residents should watch for suspicious people in their neighborhoods during the day and notify police if they see something out of the ordinary, such as a person checking doors to see if anyone is home.

He noted that an odd situation — someone who knocks on a door to ask about someone who doesn't live there, for example — that a person might normally brush off could provide a vital clue to investigators.

"We like to be bothered with these little details," he said. "They help point us in the right direction."

Reach reporter Anita Burke at 541-776-4485, or e-mail aburke@mailtribune.com.

DateLocationTime of entryProperty stolenOct. 1, 2010 2400 block of Greenbrook Drive

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