Photos: Will there be more armed dispensary robberies when recreational pot sales start?

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Big photos, video below.
Over the years, we've documented numerous medical marijuana dispensary robberies, with most taking place after hours and many of them inept -- like a 2012 heist that netted a broken scale and $8 from the karma jar. But a recent Longmont dispensary stick-up last week was scarier, featuring two masked gunmen who got away with nearly $11,000 in MMJ. Are law enforcers worried about more such crimes with recreational pot sales in the offing? A Boulder County sheriff's rep doesn't put it quite that way, but she makes it clear her office is prepping for the possibility.

According to Boulder County Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Commander Heidi Prentup, the robbery took place at New Age Wellness in Longmont on the evening of Thursday, November 14 -- but there were signs of possible trouble prior to the moment when the gunman arrived.

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New Age Wellness, in a CBS4 image.
"We had a door-kick burglary attempt the night before at the same location," Prentup says. "We don't know that it was the same people, but the alarm went off the night before, and it's possible it scared them off. So they came back when the alarm wasn't set."

Indeed they did. As detailed in a CBS4 report, two armed men looking like a thuggish variation on Blue Man Group members, with their faces covered in masks color coordinated with the rest of their outfit, burst in at closing time, just as staffers were securing the medical marijuana stock in a safe. They got away with MMJ estimated at just shy of $11,000 in value.

Here's one look at the men, from surveillance footage obtained by the BCSO:

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At this point, no one is in custody for the crimes and investigators don't have any suspects.

Prentup confirms that dispensary robberies like this one, in which employees are terrorized at gunpoint, haven't been frequent occurrences in Boulder. But she understands why criminals might zero in on them.

"Marijuana dispensaries are high cash places," she points out. "People don't usually use credit cards to buy marijuana."

One reason for that, of course, is due to current regulations that prevent marijuana businesses from using the banking system. Prentup doesn't take a position about whether modifying those rules would make such businesses safer. But she does note that "they have a lot of cash on hand, plus they've got product that people are looking for. So, of course, it's a concern for us."

With recreational pot sales in the offing, more incidents like these could take place. But the sheriff's office has a plan in place.

Continue for more about marijuana robberies, including more photos and a video.



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52 comments
HempShare
HempShare

Look like standard authority academy issued hoodies and masks.

Chris Estus
Chris Estus

I know a guy that owns a cig store and he has bee robbed a number of times and had to kill 2 guys last time. So guess what the corner cig store gets robbed all the time.

Chris Estus
Chris Estus

Sorry dude guns and pot aren't allowed together in Colorado.

Justin Harned
Justin Harned

Shut up, Westword. You're being a part of the problem instead of the soliton. I'm getting a lite tired of your mundane efforts to create controversy with stupid questions aimed for the masses that believe it's as simple as "Left or Right." One more dumb post and I will stop reading you for life.

Michelle Geiger
Michelle Geiger

Yes, because the media will be hosting them to get a story

Loren Bagola
Loren Bagola

greed is the motivation...we need to show people money doesnt save lives...it kills them

Matt Schmitt
Matt Schmitt

Do you have any kind of scientific or statistical data(you would find all kinds of for alcohol)?

Craig Struthers
Craig Struthers

yeah they need to nip this in the bud (no pun intended). I bet the anti cannabis people will use this as a talking point failing to mention if robberies happen it's a crime anywhere.

HP Stacks
HP Stacks

I swear. It's just weed. It's stupid shit like this people get the wrong idea and want to ban it. I mean weed doesn't make you do this shit. I bet it was a crazy person that doesn't even smoke let alone have their card.

Daniel J. King IV
Daniel J. King IV

Saturday I donated ammo to NEEDY FAMILIES thru @9CaresColoradoShares & 9NEWS (KUSA) wants the Aurora Police Department to ARREST ME & EVEN TOLD POLICE that I HAD an ULTRA-EVIL "Recall Hudak" sign in my SUV's WINDOW - that POLICE ASKED to SEE TODAY!!! Whoa, that must MEAN I'm GUILTY of 'FELONY Political Incorrectness' !!!

Suzanne Plymale
Suzanne Plymale

Well it sucks it's a cash only business set up for shit like this. Can't have a medical card and a carry conceal neither. Just setting everyone up to be a target

Adam Vernon
Adam Vernon

No. That's dumb. It will only lead to more sales of junk food. Win win for the economy.

Jeff Holmes
Jeff Holmes

I doubt it, scarcity drives up prices. Now we're growing and stretching the supply throughout the front range. It would be like stealing from the corner cigarette store, not worth the effort.

Mus Mus
Mus Mus

Less, I would imagine, as it becomes more widely available.

Mike An Teresa
Mike An Teresa

Theres still carjackings! Lets outlaw cars too!!

Chris Ricciardi
Chris Ricciardi

I don't think that will last long. Armed guards can be hired.

Tim Sparhawk
Tim Sparhawk

A fast food restaurant and a 7-11 were robbed last week ! Let's close them all down too!

Tim Sparhawk
Tim Sparhawk

They still rob liquor stores! Out law liquor!

Derek Reese
Derek Reese

Hell just carry that .40 on the side and its all good

Mike Lynch
Mike Lynch

They need to make an amendment to the law saying that stores can hire armed security guards

BlueLineProtection1
BlueLineProtection1

Fortunately, Blue Line Protection Group SPECIALIZES in Dispensary, Transport and Grow Protection.  We realize that the banks have put this industry in a bind and have made them easy targets for cash and product.  We employ only former law enforcement and military so the growers have professionals to protect their assets.  This industry has attracted numerous business opportunities but unfortunately has also attracted a very serious criminal element that will do anything to make an easy score.

GuestWho
GuestWho topcommenter

De-value marijuana and minimize the crime around it.  You don't see much crime associated with coffee, tea, sugar, tobacco, etc because they are not valued at hundreds of dollars per ounce.

Sickos4Parents
Sickos4Parents

You can thank your local 'anti-pot'morons for making sure that banking in this industry remains a crime, thereby forcing ALL transactions to be cash. A robber's dream....

Monkey
Monkey

They didn't take any cash? Seems like robbing the place as it's closing was a good time to take all the cash received that day and the weed.

I wonder if robbing weed stores will become as common as robbing liquor stores? Maybe that will be the only thing that is "similar to alcohol".

HempShare
HempShare

@Chris Estus There is no reason whatsoever why a person who is consuming Cannabis, but they are NOT DECARBOXYLATING THCA into THC should be denied this constitutional right.

BlueLineProtection1
BlueLineProtection1

@Chris Estus Actually, they are.  Federal law prohibits firearms with marijuana.  Federal law also prohibits marijuana.  The Denver post came out with an article several weeks ago stating - "Colorado alone in tolerance of firearms at marijuana facilities".  the feds then stated that they will turn a blind eye to the issue in Colorado.  The Governor realizes the problems with running a high dollar cash only industry and that if they did not tolerate the firearms with marijuana that this type of robbery would be a reoccurring issue.  the other issue is that if you have a red card, you cannot have a concealed carry license.  I believe that the law needs to be scrutinized in that aspect as well.

In 15 yrs of law enforcement back east - I never had to "fight" anybody that was on marijuana.  The same could not be said for ALCOHOL.

HempShare
HempShare

@Justin Harned Visit their advertisers and voice your opinion.

__McShyster__
__McShyster__

@Justin Harned .... the irony of this tool complaining about the most irresponsibly biased PRO-pot propaganda pimps at Westweed.


HempShare
HempShare

@Loren Bagola Patients before Profits AND Taxes & Regulate.

__McShyster__
__McShyster__

@James Hendricks ... banks are necessary, and legal.

Pot is optional, and ILLEGAL in most places including Federally.

hth.

__McShyster__
__McShyster__

@Daniel J. King IV ... it's your mental instability that attracts police intervention.

stupidstuka
stupidstuka

Yet very few Check Cashing businesses get robbed.

Go figure.

__McShyster__
__McShyster__

@Monkey ... soon enough the DUI-marijuana industry will be similar to the alcohol DUI industry.

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay

@__McShyster__ and the irony of your response is that he'll never see or know of it, so like most times you're talking to yourself.

HTH

BlueLineProtection1
BlueLineProtection1

@__McShyster__ @BlueLineProtection1  Now that isn't very nice.  I am also a member of LEAP - Law Enforcement Against Prohibition.  PTSD - Psycho war mongers.  I prefer people who are 100 more highly trained than your run of the mill security guard.  Not only do we help on the front end but with LEAP - I fight for legislation on the back end as well.  We all believe in legalization and we just want to give growers an elite option for protecting against armed robberies.

Sickos4Parents
Sickos4Parents

@stupidstuka Most check cashing places are behind bullet-proof glass because they have been robbed so many times. Pot shops not so much...Like i said...Easy target.....I know plenty of people that would be happy to 'charge' their purchase on their debit cards if this option was available to them....It is not....

BlueLineProtection1
BlueLineProtection1

@.McShyster. Not going to get into it with you.  Don't understand why you take exception with me.  We provide a valuable service to the growers in the state of Colorado.  Without the risk of sounding conceited, my trained personnel are entirely over qualified for Wal-Mart security.  We are a tier 1 organization that concentrates solely on the marijuana business

.McShyster.
.McShyster.

@Sickos4Parents

Real "Compassion Centers" would DONATE their "miracle medicine" for free.

Ca$h Problem solved

hth.

__McShyster__
__McShyster__

@Sickos4Parents "Most check cashing places are behind bullet-proof glass because ..."

... they don't WANT to get robbed, and take more security precautions than clueless dispensary owners.

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