MEDFORD, Ore. — The overall number of vehicle thefts in Medford rose by more than 21 percent over 2018 compared to the previous year, according to numbers just released by the Medford Police Department (MPD).
MPD recorded a total of 380 cases of Unauthorized Use of a Motor Vehicle (vehicle theft) in 2018 compared to 313 reported in 2017. The vast majority of those cases stemmed from situations where an acquaintance or relative took the vehicle without permission (83 cases) or where keys were left inside the vehicle or in a "hide-a-key" location (67 cases).
Car Theft Statistics from the Medford Police Department:
|Circumstances of Theft||2018 #||2017 #|
|Keys left inside / had a hide-a-key||67||43|
|Left warming in front of house||9||23|
|Acquaintance / relative stole vehicle||83||78|
|Rental vehicle never returned||9||5|
|Keys stolen or lost prior||6||6|
|Most Popular Stolen by Make and Model||2018 #||2017 #|
|Most Popular Stolen by Make|
The most common vehicles stolen were both models of Honda — either Accords or Civics.
MPD's stats also included some standout cases — for instance, their record for "most vehicles stolen at one time" in 2018 was from Lithia in Medford, where car thieves made off with nine vehicles at once.
On one occasion, MPD said that thieves stole a Humvee and a John Deere excavator from a construction site on Table Rock Road behind Natural Grocers. Officers were able to use a GPS tracking system to locate both of the vehicles at a marijuana farm in Cave Junction.
In a separate case, a thief stole another John Deere excavator from a construction site. Witnesses saw someone abandon the excavator in a field before fleeing the scene.
"MPD arrived and the subject jumped from a second story balcony. Struggle ensued," the agency said. The suspect was then arrested on charges including an outstanding warrant, the theft of the excavator, and resisting arrest.
According to MPD, the longest period of time before a vehicle was recovered lasted nearly a year — 346 days. Some vehicles were recovered as far away as Montana and Nebraska. Several vehicles were involved in car chases with other law enforcement agencies before they were recovered.
Officers with Medford Police aided Oregon State troopers in pursuing a stolen motorhome through downtown Medford in May of 2018. Photo Credit: David Cox.