Mystery of the ‘Medina bag person’

Repeated suspicious activity leaves police, residents scratching their heads

Since November, some residents of Medina have been affected by the most peculiar of crimes.

An unknown individual, thought to be a resident of or near Medina, has been leaving filled grocery bags on various private properties.

The bags are filled with odd items, like newspaper clippings, books, pamphlets, and even a pair of shoes, often affixed to trees branches or posts with cut up pieces of pantyhose. The bundle is then left, as a gift or burden, to the homeowner. The bags themselves are cheap grocery store bags, but rarely from the same chain.

A typical haul from the mysterious grab bags: An assortment of Christian and self-help books tied to a tree with pieces of nylon fabric. (Photo courtesy of Medina Police)

“Nothing left has ever appeared threatening,” said Medina Police Department Investigator Kevin Boecker. “It’s just strange.”

While apparently harmless, the person and their actions have been classified suspicious activity by Medina police, with the most recent incident occurring June 27.

A TIMELINE OF REVERSE LOOTING

To date, a string of 11 incidences have been documented in the Medina police reports since November 2016. All are believed to have come from the same suspect. Aside from the reported incidents, many others have most likely occurred but weren’t reported.

The first was on Nov. 10 when a property on the 900 block of Medina Road received a book called “The Language of Love and Respect” in a package attached to their mailbox. Later that day, a resident reported someone had tied bags to a tree in his yard on the 2700 block of Tamarack Drive. The two plastic bags, one from Cub Foods, the other from Roundy’s, contained a pair of women’s high heeled shoes and a Cub Foods Pharmacy coupon book.

A month later Medina Road was hit again, this time on the 1500 block, when a resident reported a bag tied to a fence.

After another month a resident living on Morgan Road found religious paper material with strips of nylon hanging from a tree in a blue bag.

Some residents reported the suspicious activity after multiple visits. On Feb. 6, a resident reported that she and her husband had found a white plastic bag tied to a tree at the end of her driveway on the 2900 block of Parkview Drive, but that it had been the second time she has found such a bag. The previous bag had been found a week prior and contained a comic book and miscellaneous political writings.

Caught in the act: This trail camera caught the elusive Medina bag-giver in the act last February. The vehicle of the suspect is believed to be a Mercury Sable. (Photo courtesy of Medina Police)

Three days later, another bag was found attached to the fence on Medina Road again, containing an old cloth, two books and a Time magazine.

On both March 16 and April 14, a resident on Parkview Drive found bags hanging in their backyard. In between those dates, bagged magazine clippings were reported on the 1700 block of Medina Road April 8.

After a brief May recess, Medina Road saw its most recent addition, a Rainbow Foods bag containing an article on the U.S. Supreme Court tied to a birch with nylons.

The last known incident was two weeks ago on Willow Drive, with a resident reporting a bagged book on Pope John Paul tied to a mailbox. The resident mentioned that the issue had happened before.

SUSPECT SEEN

Despite the number of call-ins, the bag-hanger has remained elusive: No residents have physically seen the person committing the act.

This winter, police installed a motion-sensing trail camera near one of the suspect’s repeat locations, and managed to finally catch the suspect in the act. Unfortunately, the quality of the photo is too bright, blowing out details that might otherwise be helpful to the department.

Rain may also have blurred the lens of the hidden camera, and the suspect couldn’t be identified.

The suspect appears to be wearing a large coat, avoiding the driveway and walking directly to a tree in the front yard. It is unclear whether the person is a male or female, but due to the items in the bags it is more likely a female. Officers believe the suspect’s vehicle, parked on the road in the image, is a Mercury Sable.

Police decided to turn over the photo to the public, posting the photo to their Facebook and requesting any information or knowledge of the individual be relayed to them. Despite a handful of shares and interactions on the post, no valuable information was received.

Documented items in the bags have also revealed bits of the suspect’s handwriting, used sparingly on the margins of the gifted newspaper and magazine clippings.

Investigator Boecker does not believe the targeted properties advertise any particular belief system, such as controversial yard signs or art, that would attract political or religious intervention; it could just be an area that is most convenient to the suspect.

Repeated instances has become a nuisance to those residents whose homes are targeted by the strange care packages, especially along Medina Road. If they continue, charges for harrassment could be considered. Boecker admits harrassment may be a stretch, but for now police are treating the activity as incidences of littering.

Medina police welcome any tipoffs or new information as they continue to piece together this odd saga.