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Car Thieves Caught in Ashland Bottleneck

He was visiting relatives in Medford when G. H. Smith heard a familiar sound outside their home.  It was his brand new 1919 Dodge Roadster starting up and driving away.

Smith immediately called the Medford police, who contacted Ashland authorities on a hunch the car thieves would be headed for California in their stolen vehicle.  In those days traffic to California went through downtown Ashland, and, sure enough, police spotted a Dodge roadster racing 40 mph through the city. The police commandeered W. H. Albert’s Paige roadster and chased the Dodge in hot pursuit.  When the roadway turned to dirt at the edge of town, the thieves turned around and headed back downtown. That proved to be their undoing, because Fire Chief George Robinson was waiting for them at the plaza.
As so often is the case, the high-speed car thieves were teenage boys, 16-year-old Keith Draper and 17-year-old Buckley Taylor. They were taken to Jacksonville, tried and convicted in juvenile court and sent to reform school.  
Newspaper reports didn’t mention the condition of Smith’s roadster when he got it back.

Sources: "Auto Stealers Caught in City." Ashland Weekly Tidings 3 Dec. 2013: 1. Print.

Christopher Shockey has been a long-time JPR listener and contributor. He lives on a 40-acre hillside homestead in the Applegate Valley with his wife, Kristen. He enjoys supporting both the Southern Oregon Historical Society and JPR by digging up regional stories for As It Was.