A Medford man who allegedly broke into four Rogue Valley homes in May and made off with $85,000 worth of jewelry, electronics and cash is behind bars.
Michael David Sargent, a 31-year-old transient, is suspected of burglarizing homes in Medford, Ashland and Jacksonville before trying to sell some of the stolen property in Grants Pass and Washington state. He is being held in the Jackson County Jail without bail on charges of first-degree burglary, aggravated theft, first-degree theft, and various warrants stemming from failure to appear charges related to past burglary, theft and heroin possession charges.
Most of the property has not been recovered.
"While it's great that we made an arrest, it's somewhat disheartening that we weren't able to require a majority of the property," said Lt. Mike Budreau of Medford police. "A lot of the jewelry is gone forever."
Official allege Sargent broke into a home in the 4500 block of Marissa Circle May 20, where $18,000 worth of jewelry, electronics and sports equipment were taken. Police say that on May 21 Sargent pawned a "considerable" amount of jewelry at a Burton's Rare Coins in Grants Pass.
The coin shop participates in a program called Leads Online, police said, which enables shop owners to enter pawned property into a database for law enforcement to peruse in case it was stolen. Police found the stolen property had come from a Jacksonville burglary reported the same day in the 600 block of Powderhorn Drive. Police suspect Sargent took $5,000 worth of property from the home.
"That's what kind of broke the case open," Budreau said.
A week later, police say Sargent broke into a home in the 3400 block of Eucalyptus Drive, pilfering a safe that had $30,000 in cash and $30,000 in jewelry inside.
Nearly a month later, police learned Sargent had been arrested and lodged in the Pierce County Jail in Washington for allegedly trafficking in stolen property — jewelry from the Eucalyptus Drive burglary. Authorities are still uncertain how he traveled there and why.
Police traveled to Washington and interviewed Sargent, who admitted to the two Medford burglaries, the Jacksonville incident and an additional $2,000 burglary in the 1900 block of Tolman Creek Road in Ashland that was under investigation by the Jackson County Sheriff's Department.
Sargent was extradited from Washington to Oregon and lodged in the jail on Tuesday. Police said they have had previous run-ins with Sargent, stemming from additional burglaries and drug-related charges.
— Ryan Pfeil