Ziegler says he has reformed

Eric One Ziegler told law enforcement he is a reformed man after spending five years in prison for one of Jackson County's most infamous crime sprees.

Police are hoping he can back up his claim after returning to the area Thursday, his sentence cut short by three years because he qualified for early release.

"He expressed to us that he understands how bad the things he did were," Jackson County sheriff's Detective Sgt. Colin Fagan said. "He also told us he doesn't blame his victims for hating him."

Police and victims of Ziegler's crime spree, during which he broke into more than 60 cars and made off with at least $50,000 in property, have expressed dismay that he qualified for early release, Fagan said.

Ziegler, 36, pleaded guilty in 2004 to a dozen charges, including first-degree burglary, aggravated first-degree theft, first-degree theft and identity theft for a spree that had police scrambling to solve a huge increase in car break-ins and burglaries across the Rogue Valley.

Ziegler was sentenced to six years in prison. However, incarceration did not dissuade him from committing additional crimes.

He was linked to more identity thefts, mostly from his previous victims, once he landed behind bars. He received the victims' information from police reports provided to him by his probation officer. He pleaded guilty to two counts of identity theft and was sentenced to another two years in prison.

Fagan and Medford police Detective Bill Ford spent two hours meeting with Ziegler and his parole officer Thursday. They discussed the many stipulations of his post-prison supervision, which calls for him to find a job — though not one in which he deals with money or customer debit cards — and to not have contact with his victims or former partners in crime, Fagan said.

"It's quite a list that he has to adhere to," Fagan said. "If he fails at anything during the next 90 days, then it is back to prison" for the remainder of his sentence, Fagan added.

Reach reporter Chris Conrad at 776-4471 or e-mail cconrad@mailtribune.com.

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