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MEDFORD, Ore. — A car chase through the heart of Medford on Wednesday spelled the beginning of the end for a group of suspects related to a reported armed robbery at Econo Lodge last Friday, according to Medford Police.
The robbery happened on Friday morning around 8 a.m. A 28-year-old woman and her 25-year-old boyfriend reported that they had been robbed at gunpoint in their motel room at the Econo Lodge.
Credit: Michael Fowler
"The three suspects, one of them armed with a gun, entered the motel room, pistol whipped the 25-year-old boyfriend, stole property, and jumped into a 2008 VW SUV in the parking lot," Medford Police said. "The victim couple attempted to block them in with their vehicle, but the suspect vehicle rammed them, before fleeing the parking lot."
The victims got in their '98 white Mercedes sedan and pursued the suspects through town, but eventually lost control of the vehicle and crashed near the intersection of E Main Street and Eastwood Avenue. Witnesses tried to follow the suspects, but lost them.
MPD said that the suspects stole more than $100,000 worth of "gold coins" as well as cash and electronics.
Police found the Volkswagen on October 12 in the 2700-block of Payne Road in Phoenix after someone called it in as suspicious. MPD said the vehicle was not occupied, and officers seized it for evidence.
The investigation led detectives to identify two of the suspects as 30-year-old Sadele Threets and 30-year-old Dustin Mack. The victims had said that Threets was armed with a handgun during the robbery.
On Wednesday at roughly 3 p.m., MPD detectives learned that two people had been trying to "sell gold coins at various local coin stores," with the descriptions matching unique coins that had been stolen in the robbery. Detectives found the suspects near 8th Street and Grape Street as they left a coin store.
"Detectives followed two involved vehicles as they drove away together," Medford Police said. "While they were stopped in traffic on McAndrews, west of Biddle, a Medford Police Officer and two detective vehicles attempted to box them in. One vehicle fled while the other remained on scene."
MPD said that the suspects who fled were in a white 2006 Mercedes 230. They fled northbound on Biddle Road, driving on the wrong side of the street. Officers pursued, but lost the car in the area of Poplar Drive near Highway 62.
The officers later found the white Mercedes parked in a spot outside of Weatherly Inn. Shortly after, nearby homeowners began flagging the officers down, reporting that they'd seen the suspects get out of the car and begin running through people's yards.
After a short foot chase, the suspects were taken into custody near Corona Avenue and Steelhead Run Drive. MPD identified them as Mack, 35-year-old Matthew Andress, and 37-year-old Michelle Kleiser. All three suspects had outstanding warrants, and Mack was wanted for the Econo Lodge robbery, MPD said.
Officers also arrested 24-year-old Mariha Lynn Mack, who was in the other vehicle stopped earlier on McAndrews, for outstanding warrants.
NewsWatch 12 arrived at the scene along Corona Avenue shortly after officers took Mack, Andress and Kleiser into custody. At the time, MPD was loathe to provide further details or confirm that the arrest was connected to the Econo Lodge robbery while they continued to zero in on further suspects.
Later the same day, the investigation led detectives to the 3000-block of Lone Pine Road, where Threets was reportedly staying in an Airbnb. Detectives watched the house and saw Threets leave the home and get into a rideshare vehicle.
Officers stopped the car near the intersection of McAndrews Road and Ross Lane. Threets was taken into custody without incident, and was found in possession of property stolen in the robbery, MPD said. The gun was not recovered. About half of the $100,000 in gold coins was recovered.
MPD said that it is still looking for an unidentified third subject in the original robbery.