In a daring turn of events, a break-in suspect was apprehended after attempting a bold escape from custody on Monday. At around 9:04 a.m. on Monday, August 7th, Bend Police responded to a report of a break-in at Hammer Down Firearms located in the 1200 block of NE Third Street.
Upon their arrival, officers discovered a broken window at the front of the building, along with a firearm on the floor. The window, fitted with bars, had been broken by the suspect who was later identified as 19-year-old Thomas Cole Dillard III. The stolen items included a Noveske short-barrel rifle, a suppressor, and a green dot sight.
Surveillance footage showed Dillard breaking the window using bolt cutters and maneuvering through the bars to seize the firearm around 2:35 a.m.
A breakthrough came around 4 p.m. when officers located Dillard at a transient camp in the vicinity of SE Second and Aune streets. Dillard was found in possession of a backpack and bolt cutters, and a subsequent search of the backpack yielded the stolen firearm as well as fentanyl.
However, the situation escalated when Dillard claimed to have ingested ten fentanyl pills. As a precaution, officers arranged for paramedics to transport Dillard, still handcuffed, to St. Charles Bend hospital. An officer closely trailed the ambulance.
During the transport near NE 27th Street and Rosemary Drive, Dillard managed to escape from the ambulance, displaying an audacious attempt at freedom by running eastbound across 27th Street despite having his hands cuffed behind his back. The pursuing officer wasted no time, giving chase on foot. Dillard’s flight came to an end as he attempted to vault a fence on NE Atherton Court, allowing the officer to regain control and take him into custody.
Thomas Dillard III, a 19-year-old resident of Bend, now faces a slew of charges, including Theft I, Burglary II, Criminal Mischief II, Possession of a Prohibited Firearm, Escape II, Criminal Trespass II, and Initiating a False Report.
All suspects are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law