ashland.news
May 26, 2024

Two arrested following alleged armed robbery on East Main Street Saturday in Ashland

The Ashland Police Department patch design.
May 13, 2024

Victim was targeted, police say; suspects were taken into custody Sunday 

By Morgan Rothborne, Ashland.news

An armed robbery perpetrated on a pedestrian Saturday night appears to have been a targeted crime, according to a release from the Ashland Police Department. 

An adult male was walking home from work alone on Walker Avenue near East Main Street Saturday evening when he was approached by two men, one of whom threatened him with a gun for his property. The victim relinquished his property and fled on foot to a nearby home where he requested the police be called, the release said. The call came in to police at 9:56 p.m.

Ashland Police Chief Tighe O’Meara stated Monday the information that points to a targeted crime is part of an initial investigation and cannot be publicly released.  

After police received the call Saturday night, detectives from the APD Criminal Investigations Division tracked both suspects — Medford resident Cole Matthews, 18, and Ashland resident Seth Cluff, 24 — to a home in the 200 block of Tolman Creek Road. Detectives then conducted an investigation and surveillance of the property until Cluff left the residence to visit stores in Ashland Sunday morning. 

Cluff was arrested in “a high-risk traffic stop,” in the parking lot of the Ashland Albertsons, 10:44 a.m. Sunday with APD officers and Talent Police officers responding, the release said. 

Cluff is known to police to have a history of violent crime and, because the Saturday evening crime allegedly involved a gun, officers had to assume the suspect could be armed and dangerous, O’Meara said. Officers were cautious and worked to avoid use of force, particularly in such a highly public location, he said. 

Matthews was apprehended shortly after Cluff when officers in surveillance of the Tolman Creek road property saw him “pop out” of the residence, O’Meara said. 

Without a warrant or consent from those inside a residence, officers cannot enter to arrest suspects, he said. APD detectives were able to obtain evidence, submit for, and were granted a warrant after the suspects were arrested and went on to uncover evidence of the crime in the residence, according to the release. 

Both suspects were lodged in the Jackson County Jail Sunday. Both were charged by APD with a misdemeanor count of menacing, a misdemeanor count of second degree theft, a misdemeanor charge of conspiracy to commit first degree robbery and a felony charge of first degree robbery. 

Both also received three additional felony charges of identity theft and an additional felony charge of first degree robbery by the Medford Municipal Court, according to the Jackson County Jail roster. 

Cluff and Matthews are both being held without bail and both had a court hearing scheduled for Monday, May 13 at 1:45 p.m., according to court records.

Cluff’s criminal record reaches back to 2016 and across Oregon with records showing crimes committed in Deschutes, Crook, Klamath and Jackson counties. He has previously been charged with crimes such as sodomy in the first degree, unlawful use of a weapon, robbery, menacing, and driving with a suspended license, according to court records. Matthews does not appear to have a previous criminal record. 

Email Ashland.news reporter Morgan Rothborne at morganr@ashland.news.

Picture of Bert Etling

Bert Etling

Bert Etling is the executive editor of Ashland.news. Email him at betling@ashland.news.

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