Update: $40K stolen from pot dispensary shuttered by state, inside job suspected
Update: Earlier this morning, we shared an interview with Conley Hoskins, an indicted medical marijuana entrepreneur who decried the shuttering of two dispensaries by a state agency; see our previous coverage below.
Big photos and more below.
In the conversation, Hoskins mentions that about fifty employees went unpaid due to the shutdown -- and now he suspects a couple of them may have had a role in a robbery overnight that appears to be an inside job.
The incident took place at Higher Health Medical, located at 527 East Mississippi, an address captured in the following interactive graphic; if you have problems seeing the image, click "View Larger Map."
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Here's how Hoskins describes the crime, which was captured on surveillance footage.
"About 2:45 a.m., two individuals broke through a window that had a chain-link fence on it and a welded screen," he says. "They cut through all that, broke the window and entered the facility right next to the safe where we keep everything.
"There's a giant, welded cage around the safe that's padlocked. They used bolt cutters on the padlock."
The safe itself would presumably have presented them with an even bigger challenge. But no: Hoskins says, "They had the combination."
Upon opening the safe, the two men cleaned it out. Hoskins notes that "they took about $1,900 in cash, close to ten pounds of flowers and all the wax and edibles." He estimates the total loss in the $35-40,000 range.
Conley Hoskins with his wife Alycia.
The safe's contents represented all the product put on hold by the Marijuana Enforcement Division on Friday, when Higher Health was shuttered owing to a license denial Hoskins feels is unfair. According to him, officials had promised to let him remain in business until or unless he was convicted on a 71-count indictment filed by the Colorado Attorney General's Office in May of last year. However, the case against Hoskins was stayed by the Colorado Supreme Court this past October over a dispute about legal representation and has yet to be resolved one way or the other.
Because there was no motion detector near the safe, an alarm didn't sound when the two men entered the building. Hoskins was alerted to the robbery at around 6:30 a.m., after which he met personnel from the Marijuana Enforcement Division and the Denver Police Department to walk through the facility. (He no longer has keys to the building, so the locks had to be drilled so they could gain access.) A staffer from Higher Health's security company subsequently accessed the video and gave it to law enforcement.
In the interview below, Hoskins says he was ordered to keep all the plants from the dispensaries alive -- something he didn't think was possible given that he now has no revenue coming in. As such, some people are likely to suspect him of having played a part in the break-in. To this possibility, he replies, "Abso-fucking-lutely not." For one thing, he doesn't match the description of the thieves: He says they were around "five-feet-six to five-feet-seven and skinny, and I'm six-feet and about 210. I couldn't have fit through the window." And besides, he says it makes no sense for him to be involved in such a crime when he's already under indictment.
A photo from the Higher Health Facebook page.
Who else might have been responsible? "Everyone seems to think it's an inside job," he acknowledges. Referencing the previous interview, when he talked about the fifty or so staffers left jobless by the dispensary closures, he adds, "None of the employees got paid. So you're making an assumption, but it's a reasonable one to make," especially since the thieves had the safe's combination.
He's clearly frustrated by this latest twist. In his words, "I just think it's curious that five or six days ago, they came in and shut us down and locked us up -- and now we're getting broken into because nobody's around and we've got disgruntled employees."
Continue for our interview with Conley Hoskins about the rejection of a temporary restraining order, as well as our previous coverage, featuring photos and documents aplenty.