Sleeping Car Thief Awakened By Medford P.D.
A suspected car thief received a rude awakening early Friday when Medford police found him sleeping in a Lexus SUV he allegedly stole, then decked out with a license plate he is suspected of pilfering to try to throw police off the scent. Sam Landes, 41, remained in the Jackson County Jail Friday afternoon on charges of unauthorized use of a vehicle and third-degree theft, according to jail records. His bail was set at $18,000.
Police found Landes, a Florida resident, at 3 a.m. during a regular patrol near the intersection of Progress Drive and Biddle Road. The police car was equipped with an automatic license plate reader, a device that scans plates to see if they are logged in databases of missing or stolen vehicles or those possibly linked to a crime scene.
The plate came up stolen, reportedly from a 2000 Toyota Corolla parked in the Costco parking lot June 14. The officer arrested Landes without incident and ran the vehicle identification number on the car, a Lexus RX 330 SUV, and found it had been reported stolen in Seattle May 16.