BendPolice: Bend gun store burglary suspect tries to escape ambulance handcuffed

Police: Bend gun store burglary suspect tries to escape ambulance handcuffed

Police: Bend gun store burglary suspect tries to escape ambulance handcuffed

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A man who police say broke into a Bend gun store and stole a rifle escaped from an ambulance and tried to get away while still handcuffed Monday.

Bend Police say this all started around 9:04 a.m. with a report of a break-in at Hammer Down Firearms on NE 3rd Street. Officers arrived to find a broken window and a firearm on the floor.

Employees determined a Noveske short-barrel rifle, a suppressor and a green dot sight were missing from the store, police said.

Surveillance video from about 2:35 a.m. showed a person breaking the window with bolt cutters and reaching through the bars on the window to take the gun. Bend Police identified the person as Thomas Cole Dillard III, 19.

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Dillard was later found at a transient camp in the area of SE 2nd and Aune Streets, not far from the Colorado Avenue / Highway 97 interchange. Bend Police say they found bolt cutters. They also found the gun and fentanyl in a backpack next to him.

After being taken to jail, Dillard allegedly claimed he had swallowed 10 fentanyl pills. Paramedics were called to take him, handcuffed, to St. Charles while an officer followed the ambulance.

Bend Police say Dillard escaped from the ambulance in the area of NE 27th Street and Rosemary Drive. He was still handcuffed behind his back.

The officer ran after Dillard and took him into custody when he tried to jump a fence, police said.

He was taken back to jail on theft, burglary, possession of a prohibited firearm, trespass charges and more, according to Bend Police.
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