A paroled burglar is back behind bars after Medford police arrested him for allegedly robbing a taxi cab driver using a BB gun that was a highly realistic replica of a handgun.
Raymond William Mathes, Jr., a 27-year-old local transient, was lodged in the Jackson County Jail without bail on a parole violation for a 2016 first-degree burglary conviction. He was also being held on a charge of second-degree robbery in the new taxi robbery case, according to jail and court records.
At about 11 p.m. on Tuesday night, a female driver for Crown Taxi picked up a male passenger at the Bear Creek Shopping Center, according to Medford police.
He asked to go to nearby Northwood Drive, just east of the shopping center. When they reached the destination, he displayed what looked like a black handgun and asked for money, police said.
The cab driver gave him an undisclosed amount of cash and the man walked away, police said.
Medford police responded to a report of an armed robbery of a cab driver and used a police dog to try and track the suspect. Although the suspect was not located, the K-9 found evidence discarded by the suspect near apartments in the 1000 block of Spring Street, police said.
“The evidence that the K-9 found was a small portfolio the victim carried money in. We found that emptied of money. He had pulled money out,” said MPD Lt. Mike Budreau.
The taxi cab was processed by an MPD forensic technician who found a fingerprint in an area where the suspect had been, Budreau said.
The forensic technician asked the Oregon State Police lab to quickly run the fingerprint through the OSP system because of the seriousness of the crime, Budreau.
The fingerprint was matched to Mathes, he said.
“Armed robbery of a cab driver could escalate to the point of someone getting hurt like in the Huson case,” Budreau said.
William Roy ‘Huey’ Huson, a driver for Valley Cab, was shot to death after he picked up a person who flagged him down outside a downtown restaurant and bar in Medford on Oct. 20, 2012. The murder remains unsolved.
Budreau said Mathes is familiar to local law enforcement due to his frequent contacts with police regarding crimes and warrants for his arrest.
On Wednesday at about 7:30 p.m., a Medford police officer spotted Mathes in the parking lot of CSL Plasma on South Riverside Avenue. The officer attempted to arrest Mathes, but he fled on foot, police said.
The officer was eventually able to chase Mathes down and arrest him, police said.
He was interviewed by investigators and lodged in jail. The weapon used was located and determined to be a very realistic BB gun replica of a handgun, police said.
“This was one of the cases that came together really well because of the excellent work by all involved,” Budreau said.
He said police are glad to have Mathes behind bars.
“We’re happy because we probably prevented another robbery,” Budreau said.
Detectives believe the suspect’s heroin addiction contributed to his motive to commit the robbery, police said.
In 2012, Mathes was convicted of driving under the influence of intoxicants, court records show.
He was convicted of first-degree theft in 2014 for stealing DVDs that cost $42.88 at Walmart and returning them for cash at the customer service counter, court records show.
In October 2016, Mathes pleaded guilty to first-degree burglary for entering an occupied Medford home and second-degree theft for stealing a cell phone and/or car keys, according to court records.
Mathes was sentenced to two years in prison and three years of post-prison supervision. He was eligible to take part in programs to potentially reduce the prison sentence, according to court records from his sentencing.
Reach Mail Tribune reporter Vickie Aldous at 541-776-4486 or email@example.com. Follow her at www.twitter.com/VickieAldous.