Scuffle aids in capture of theft suspect

A 24-year-old man was arrested for assaulting a police officer Sunday night after he allegedly stole a purse then used a 50-year-old Medford woman's credit card to buy a laptop computer at Best Buy.

Sgt. Brent Mak said a Medford police officer scuffled with Jason John Robert Drayer as he was trying to escape from the Best Buy.

"A fight ensued then the suspect started kicking and fighting with the officer," Mak said. "There were literally at least a dozen citizens who saw the thing, and it was captured on video."

The officer, whose name was not released, sustained a cut to his head and was taken to Rogue Valley Medical Center for treatment, but didn't require stitches, Mak said.

Drayer, who was staying in a local motel, faces nine charges, with more coming as officers think he is linked to other cases of identity theft.

The current charges include assaulting an officer, two counts of harassment, disorderly conduct, unauthorized use of a motor vehicle, theft, attempted theft, identity theft and resisting arrest.

"These are just the charges for the one victim we have right now," Mak said.

Drayer previously has been arrested at least four times in Jackson County for identity theft and other charges since 2004.

The 50-year-old woman, who lives off McAndrews Road in east Medford, noticed her purse had been stolen out of her car over the past two days, Mak said. She called the credit card companies and they reported several purchases on two cards adding up to more than $1,000.

Meanwhile, Drayer went to the Best Buy and bought a laptop, then left it to get some work done on it, but used his name instead of the victim's for the service work. As soon as he returned, Best Buy employees contacted Medford police.

They arrived at the Best Buy and the suspect ran for the entrance, where the officer tried to take him to the ground, Mak said.

After he was taken into custody, officers obtained a search warrant for his hotel room and found checks, credit cards and other identification for five other possible victims, all of them Rogue Valley residents.

On Sunday night, officers were still trying to contact all the possible victims.

Mak said the suspect could potentially face a slew of other charges based on the information provided by these possible victims.

"We want to hold him accountable for everything he has done," Mak said.

Reach reporter Damian Mann at 541-776-4476, or e-mail

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