Cops link suspect to Purple Parrot heists

Cops link suspect to Purple Parrot heists

MEDFORD — It took eight months, but Medford police believe they have identified the man responsible for a string of Purple Parrot armed robberies.

Detectives on Tuesday charged Coleman Daniel Thorne, 20, with five counts of first-degree robbery and one count of second-degree robbery in connection with the Purple Parrot heists, which date back to April.

They did not have to go far to charge Throne, who was locked up in the Jackson County Jail after two off-duty UPS employees wrestled him to the ground following an attempted robbery of a Medford liquor store Nov. 18.

"We saw way too many consistencies among the robberies linked to (Thorne)," Medford police Detective Sgt. Mike Budreau said. "We've been looking at different aspects of his life for about a week."

Detectives spoke with people who know Thorne and have checked out the places he has stayed over the past eight months for additional evidence tying him to the robberies.

Budreau said they found some of his residences were within minutes of the Purple Parrots, which offer state lottery video machines, alcohol and food service.

"We do believe he might have used a car to escape twice, but most of the time he could have made it to his house on foot minutes after a robbery," Budreau said.

The stores allegedly hit by Thorne were at 960 Biddle Road, 2742 North Pacific Highway and 2049 Roberts Road. Each store was robbed twice.

If Thorne is found guilty of the crimes, the case would clear the bulk of unsolved robberies committed in Medford this year. Officers are still looking for the man who robbed the Fred Meyer store on Crater Lake Highway on Oct. 5 and a knife-wielding suspect who hit the Lumpy's tavern on South Riverside Avenue Friday night.

The fact that weapons were used during the Purple Parrot and Lumpy's robberies concerns police.

"You never know what's going to happen," Budreau said. "You could have an accidental discharge of a weapon or citizens who step in could be injured."

Thorne remained lodged in the Jackson County Jail late Tuesday without bail. He was originally arrested Friday on charges of first-degree robbery, being a felon in possession of a weapon and a parole violation stemming from a prior vehicle theft conviction.

First-degree robbery is a Measure 11 crime that carries a mandatory minimum prison sentence of 7.5 years.

Reach reporter Chris Conrad at 776-4471; or e-mail

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