Marijuana dispensaries have been victims of a recent string of robberies. Michael Jerome of Blue Line Protection Group, a marijuana security firm in Lakewood, Colorado, says that six of his clients have been hit in the past two months.
The most recent of these took place at a marijuana dispensary on West Alameda Avenue, near South Sheridan Boulevard.
A group of four thieves broke into the building with a pry bar, grabbed what they could in a hurry, and took off.
“They were in for two minutes,” a spokesman for the dispensary said, “but they weren’t able to get any product.”
Lakewood Police Department spokesman Steve Davis explained that while burglaries at marijuana dispensaries are common, they do not happen nearly as frequently as at convenience stores.
“Ten times more convenience stores are robbed,” he said.
In late April, thieves targeted a dispensary in Denver’s Cole neighborhood. Fortunately, the heist was caught on camera.
Burglars chased off premises
Four hooded people broke into the building presumably thinking that a woman, who they had seen open the dispensary on the morning of April 22, was the only person there. They were not expecting to find a man in the ‘grow’ room, who proceeded to chased the burglars off the premises.
“If you look at the video, it’s kind of like the Keystone Kops,” Jerome said. “They don’t know what to do. They’re bumping into each other and they just grabbed what they could get and then they took off.”
Jerome explained to 7NEWS that as the burglars fled the scene through the parking lot, one of them turn back and fired a couple of shots at the employee. Fortunately, he was not hit.
Recent heists could be connected
Jerome added that it is possible some of the recent heists are connected.
“We’re seeing kind of a pattern of four-man crews, or four-person crews,” he said, “breaking into dispensaries overnight for the past couple of months.”
According to investigators, the primary reason thieves target marijuana dispensaries is that they’re “low risk, high reward.”
“With a relatively small amount of effort, you can take thousands upon thousands of dollars’ worth of that product and filter it into the black market,” explained Sgt. Jim Gerhardt of the Colorado Drug Investigators Association.
Marijuana retails for between $300 and $400 per ounce in Colorado. However, out of state it costs a lot more. There is still a massive black market to be supplied.
“The saying is that money doesn’t grow on trees,” Gerhardt said. “Well, where marijuana is concerned, it practically does.”