By MARK FREEMAN
A Talent man arrested Saturday for allegedly attempting to drag a woman into his vehicle in east Medford Jan. 13 also attempted to lure at least two other women into his vehicle in the week before his capture, authorities say.
Fidel Flores-Avalos, 39, was taken into custody on one count of attempted second-degree kidnapping for allegedly trying to force a 22-year-old Medford women into his vehicle on the morning of Jan. 13 while she was walking through a Medford Center parking lot near Safeway, according to Medford police.
After repeatedly attempting to coax the woman into his Jeep, Flores-Avalos allegedly got out and grabbed the victim's body and purse and tried to force her into the vehicle's passenger seat before she escaped and fled, Medford police Lt. Mike Budreau said.
He also was suspected of trying to talk a 38-year-old woman into entering his car Thursday morning in the area of East Main and Almond streets, but his efforts were reportedly thwarted when he was interrupted by an unknown man, Budreau said.
A similar incident occurred Saturday along East Main and Genessee streets, and the 51-year-old woman escaped untouched but was able to provide investigators with a license plate number and description of the man and vehicle that matched the Jan. 13 incident, police said.
Medford police identified Flores-Avalos, of the 200 block of Talent Avenue, as the owner of that vehicle, police said. He then agreed to be interviewed at the Medford Police Department, where he told investigators he talked to the victims but insisted it was them asking him for rides, Budreau said.
"Obviously, he had a different version of the events," Budreau said.
Flores-Avalos was lodged in the Jackson County Jail on the single count of attempted second-degree kidnapping, which is a Class C felony in Oregon.
The charge stems from his allegedly grabbing the victim and trying to force her into the Jeep near Safeway, police said. In the other incidents, there was no force or touching involved, reports state.
"In some of the other cases, the behavior was concerning, but not criminal," Budreau said. "It didn't quite rise to the level of attempted kidnapping."
A fourth victim of a suspected attempted kidnapping came forward after news reports of the case surfaced Sunday, Budreau said. The 40-year-old woman, who lives on Royal Avenue, told police she believed Flores-Avalos was the man who has attempted to get her to ride in his Jeep several times since June, Budreau said.
Flores-Avalos has a history of misdemeanor arrests and traffic violations in Jackson County dating back to 1991 but no previous felony arrests here, court records show.
Flores-Avalos was being held Monday in jail on $5,000 bail, jail records show.
Reach reporter Mark Freeman at 541-776-4470, or email at email@example.com.
This story originally appeared in Medford Mail Tribune.