Local taxi driver robbed at gunpoint shares story of terror

Raymond Mathes

Twenty-seven year-old Raymond Mathes is behind bars after he allegedly robbed a taxi driver at gunpoint late Tuesday night.

Michelle Abernathy, who drives for Crown Taxi, was dispatched to pick up a customer just before 11 p.m. outside of the Purple Parrot at the Bear Creek Plaza.

She said Mathes was fidgety when he got in the car, but she didn't think much of it until she arrived at their final destination 20 minutes later.

"I told him, 'Okay, $12,' and I went to go look at where I keep my money, I looked up and he had the gun in my face," she said.

Abernathy said Mathes asked for her wallet, and she threw the file folder where she had an undisclosed amount of money. He rifled through the folder for a moment, unable to find the cash.

"I did mention that I had child. I was like, 'Please don't do this,'" she said. "What really scared me is the moment that he couldn't find the money in that pocket. That was when I was like, 'Oh my God, he's going to shoot me anyways.'"

But Mathes did find the money, and took off with it. Abernathy called Medford Police, who utilized a K-9 unit to look for the suspect.

They were unable to locate him, but they did find the file folder. They also processed the cab for forensic evidence, and hours later, MPD said they were able to match Mathes' fingerprints to the case.

"At that point, because this was an armed robbery, our concern was that if we didn't identify this person rather quickly, that he could continue to behavior and ultimately someone could get injured," said Lt. Mike Budreau with the Medford Police Department.

Budreau said it's not often that forensic evidence is processed in a matter of hours, but the department made this case a priority because of the potential public safety hazard.

This was hardly the department's first encounter with Mathes. According to Budreau, Mathes has been arrested dozens of times for charges related to burglary, shoplifting, weapons charges and drugs.

Budreau said heroin is known to be his substance of choice.

"What we're finding is people who usually do this activity are usually addicted to drugs, and they're at a point where they'll do just about anything to get money for drugs, which we believe was the case the other night," he said.

Police ultimately obtained the gun they believe was used during the robbery, which turned out to be a realistic looking BB gun.

Mathes is currently being held at the Jackson County Jail without bail.

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