By CRAIG MURPHY
Of the Keizertimes
The entire incident didn’t take long, but plenty of crimes were committed in the short matter of time.
James Rodney Hill III, 24, was arrested Sunday night on multiple charges after initially slipping away from Keizer Police Department officers at the Keizer Station Target.
Hill was charged with criminal mischief, escape, assaulting a police officer, kidnapping, unlawful possession of heroin, menacing and resisting arrest. Just for good measure, Hill also had four felony warrants out for his arrest.
Jeff Kuhns, deputy chief with the KPD, said the incident unfolded around 9:30 p.m. Nov. 29.
“Mr. Hill was being placed under arrest for criminal mischief when he was attempting to steal property from Target,” Kuhns said. “While placing him in handcuffs, Mr. Hill fled from the officer and the store. While fleeing on foot, Mr. Hill got into the back of a vehicle that was being operated by an innocent victim. He told the victim to drive him from the area and told the victim he had a gun. The driver of the vehicle did not do as Mr. Hill demanded of him.”
Kuhns said officers soon caught up with Hill behind a nearby restaurant, who once again tried to flee on foot.
“Our officers eventually caught up to the fleeing suspect and took him into custody after he fought with one of the officers,” Kuhns said.
Hill was transported to the Marion County Correctional Facility.
As is often the case as the holiday season arrives, the KPD police logs showed an uptick in thefts and burglaries in Keizer during the past week. In light of that, Kuhns offered the following tips for Keizerites.
• Keep all car doors locked and windows closed while in or out of your car. Set your alarm or use an anti-theft device.
• If you must shop at night, park in a well-lighted area.
• Park as close as you can to your destination and take notice of where you parked.
• Never leave your car unoccupied with the motor running or with children inside.
• Do not leave packages or valuables on the seat or open cargo area of your vehicle. This creates a temptation for thieves. If you must leave something in the vehicle, lock it in the trunk or put it out of sight.
• Be sure to locate your keys prior to going to your car.
• Keep a secure hold on your purse, handbag and parcels when walking to your vehicle. Do not put them down or on top of the car in order to open the door.
• When approaching or leaving your vehicle, be aware of your surroundings.
• Do not approach your car alone if there are suspicious persons in the area.
• Ask mall or store security for an escort before leaving your shopping location.
• Shop during daylight hours whenever possible. If you must shop at night, go with a friend or family member.
• Avoid wearing expensive jewelry.
• Do not carry a purse or wallet, if possible.
• Avoid carrying large amounts of cash.
• Pay for purchases with a check or credit/debit card when possible.
• Keep cash in your front pocket.
• Notify the credit/debit card issuer immediately if your credit card is lost, stolen or misused.
• Keep a record of all of your credit/debit card numbers in a safe place at home.
• Be extra careful if you do carry a wallet or purse. They are the prime targets of criminals.
• Avoid overloading yourself with packages. It is important to have clear visibility and freedom of motion to avoid mishaps.
• Beware of strangers approaching you for any reason. At this time of year, con artists may try various methods of distracting you with the intention of taking your money or belongings.
• Be extra cautious about locking doors and windows when you leave the house, even for a few minutes.
• When leaving home for an extended time, have a neighbor or family member watch your house and pick up your newspapers, mail and package deliveries.
• Indoor and outdoor lights should be on an automatic timer.
• Leave a radio or television on so the house looks and sounds occupied.
• Large displays of holiday gifts should not be visible through the windows and doors of your home.
• When setting up a Christmas tree or other holiday display, make sure doors and passageways are clear inside your home.
• Be sure your Christmas tree is mounted on a sturdy base so children, elderly persons or family pets cannot pull it over on themselves.
• If you use lights on your Christmas tree ensure the wiring is not damaged or frayed. Frayed or damaged wiring can cause a fire.
• Place your Christmas tree in water or wet sand to keep it green.
Strangers at your house
• Be aware that criminals sometimes pose as couriers delivering gifts.
• It is not uncommon for criminals to take advantage of the generosity of people during the holiday season by soliciting donations door-to-door for charitable causes although no charity is involved.
• Ask for their identification, and find out how the donated funds will be used. If you are not satisfied, do not donate.
• Donate to a recognized charitable organization.