By MARK FREEMAN
Joe David Campos put together a primer Monday on how not to get away with robbery in Medford, police say.
First, he picked a bank just five blocks from the Medford Police Department, police said. Then he wore a loud and easily identifiable orange T-shirt into the Key Bank branch on East Main Street and allegedly demanded cash.
Then he fled on a black bicycle, stopping at a nearby market for cigarettes and hard lemonade, authorities said.
Police said when they spied and detained Campos, he was just eight blocks away riding his black bicycle down the middle of the street — and still wearing that orange shirt so bright it looked like it took AA batteries.
“You need one of these easy ones once in a while,” Medford police Chief Tim George said. “It was a slow change-up and we hit it out of the park. That’s gotta help our batting average.”
It also helped Campos swap that T-shirt with a more muted orange jumpsuit courtesy of the Jackson County Jail, where he was lodged Monday afternoon on a third-degree robbery charge and $15,000 bail.
It’s a jumpsuit Campos, 39, of White City, has worn before.
Court records show he had a string of robbery and drug convictions in Jackson County during the early and mid-1990s before a criminal-court hiatus for some time afterwards. Most recently, he was arrested in February on charges of strangulation and assault and in March on a contempt-of-court charge, records show. Both cases remain open.
On Monday shortly before 1:20 p.m., Campos allegedly parked his bike near the bank’s Front Street entrance, walked in and stood in line until a teller was available, police said.
When he approached a teller, he did not appear to be armed but he aggressively demanded money to a point where tellers believed he might jump over the counter, police said.
The teller gave him an undisclosed amount of cash and he fled the bank, police said.
“That’s about the only thing he accomplished right,” Medford police Lt. Mike Budreau said.
Bank employees were able to give police a good description of the robber and his direction of flight — two key tools for hunting down fleeing robbers, George said.
An officer spotted Campos pedaling east on East 12th Street near Riverside Avenue and detained him three blocks away at the intersection of 10th and Cottage streets, police said.
A quick print of a surveillance camera was rushed to officers, and the suspect and Campos appeared to be exact matches, Budreau said.
“That shirt was really identifiable,” Budreau said.
Officers recovered all the stolen money except what Campos allegedly used to buy a Mike’s hard lemonade, cigarettes and a water from a nearby market during his getaway, Budreau said.
“We’re not sure what his plan was,” Budreau said. “If you don’t have a good getaway plan, you’ll get caught.”
Most bank robbers don’t get caught at the scene but are identified and found later, Budreau said.
That Key Bank branch was last robbed in 2009, Budreau said.
Last year, Medford police solved six of their eight bank robberies and with Campos’ help, police say they have an arrest tied to each of the city’s three bank robberies so far in 2013.
“I wouldn’t say he’s the brightest guy to rob a bank in Medford, that’s for sure,” Budreau said.
But, among Medford’s recent alleged bank robbers, he did have the brightest shirt.
Reach reporter Mark Freeman at 541-776-4470, or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This story originally appeared in Medford Mail Tribune.