By Sanne Specht
An unidentified Good Samaritan has earned the gratitude of Medford police by helping them catch a career criminal Thursday.
Police got a tip that Robin Lee Workman, a 55-year-old Gold Hill man wanted on several warrants and suspected in a string of recent burglaries and vehicle thefts, was at a home in the 600 block of South Holly Street, said Lt. Mike Budreau.
Officers surrounded the home at about 2:30 p.m. Thursday. When they entered to talk to the people inside, Workman jumped out a side window and took off running south through neighboring yards, Budreau said.
“(Workman) was heading down the street and cutting across yards. He was headed to the back yard,” he said.
A 25-year-old man who lives on South Holly Street saw the chase coming his direction. He ran across the street and repeatedly began to physically block Workman’s path — without laying a hand on the fleeing suspect, Budreau said.
“(Workman) looked pretty confused,” Budreau said. “He’s trying to run away and the police are chasing him. Then, Boom!’ there’s someone right in front of him holding his hands up in front of his face.”
Budreau said Workman appeared baffled as he looked at the man blocking his escape and then down the street at the approaching police.
“Then we were screaming at (Workman) to get down on the ground and he complied,” Budreau said.
Budreau said the actions of the Good Samaritan, who hasn’t agreed to be named or to talk to the media, helped capture Workman. But the man clearly wasn’t looking for recognition, he said.
“The citizen just walked away,” Budreau, adding he thanked the man for the assist when Workman was safely in custody.
“He just said Yeah, no problem’ and went on his way,” Budreau said.
A concealed switch-blade knife was later found in Workman’s pocket and methamphetamine inside his home. He was lodged in the Jackson County Jail on charges of possession of methamphetamine, being a felon in possession of a restricted weapon and warrants charging him with first-degree theft, second-degree criminal mischief and unauthorized use of a vehicle. Jackson County investigators are still working on burglary and vehicle theft cases in which Workman is a suspect, police said.
Workman has been tied to 14 cases from 2012, including incidents of fraud, motor vehicle theft, burglary and disorderly conduct, the Jackson County Sheriff’s Department reported.
Workman is linked to an April 16 theft at Northgate Auto Sales in Medford. Investigators suspect he cut a chain-link fence at the lot, smashed the rear driver’s-side window of a 1997 Dodge Dakota and drove off. Central Point police later found the truck at a house in the 300 block of North Sixth Street. Residents told police Workman had taken the truck and left it there before police arrived.
Police officials said other crimes linked to Workman include an earlier break-in at Northgate Auto Sales in December 2012 — a 2004 Ford Ranger was stolen that time — and an attempted burglary of a shed in Central Point.
An alarm was activated and frightened the suspects away in that case, said sheriff’s spokesperson Andrea Carlson.
Workman was featured by Crime Stoppers last month after Jackson County Sheriff’s Department offered a $1,000 reward for information leading to his arrest.
The person who called in the tip regarding Workman’s whereabouts Thursday was not the same person who helped police apprehend him, Budreau said.
Reach reporter Sanne Specht at 541-776-4497 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
This story originally appeared in Medford Mail Tribune.