There’s been a recent uptick of break-ins at cannabis dispensaries in Missouri.
On Aug. 29, three dispensaries near the St. Louis area were broken into within 30 minutes, and just days later, another dispensary in Hazelwood was targeted.
The string of break-ins started Aug. 29 around 4 a.m., when “a group of suspects in two dark-colored vehicles attempted to burglarize the Star Buds Medical Marijuana Dispensary,” located at 1168 W. Gannon Drive in Festus—roughly 30 miles southwest of St. Louis, 5 On Your Side reported.
Festus Police Chief Tim Lewis told the news outlet that the individuals struck the front and back doors of the location with one of the vehicles. But the dispensary owner told the news outlet that the burglars were unsuccessful in their attempt to steal product and weren’t even able to make it past the lobby because “just hours before the incident, they finished reenforcing all of their doors and boosting security; a direct response to area break-ins that paid off,” 5 On Your Side reported.
“The vehicles fled north on Interstate 55, where officers stopped their pursuit,” the news outlet reported.
Lewis said, “What I want to stress is the owners in Festus were shrewd enough and smart enough to meet the minimum standards set by the state of Missouri, and then they stepped up their game.”
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About 25 minutes later, at 4:24 a.m., there was a report of seven individuals who broke into the back door of Good Day Farm Dispensary located at 20 S. Euclid Ave. in St. Louis. The St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department said the suspects were unable to acquire products, as the products were locked in a vault, and then fled the scene in a dark-colored sedan, 5 On Your Side reported.
The last in the string of break-ins on Aug. 29 happened five minutes later at 4:29 a.m., when roughly four or five people robbed SWADE Dispensary at 6166 Delmar Blvd. in St. Louis and were able to obtain “boxes of merchandise,” according to the news outlet.
However, the officers obtained some of the merchandise dropped by the individuals as they fled the scene in two reported stolen vehicles: a black SUV and a dark sedan. According to the news outlet, law enforcement believes that all three break-ins could have been done by the same group.
And on Sept. 1 at 3:10 a.m., suspects broke into the front window of Terrabis Medical Cannabis Dispensary, located at 7766 N. Lindbergh Blvd. in Hazelwood—about 17 miles northwest of St. Louis—but fled the scene without product before law enforcement arrived, 5 On Your Side reported.
This week’s string of break-ins follows suit of another that happened Aug. 25, when a group of male suspects smashed a car into Lucky Leaf dispensary located at 1463 S. Vandeventer Ave. in St. Louis.
“The preliminary investigation revealed two men, who were at an auto shop next door, heard a loud crash at the store and witnessed a blue Hyundai back into the entrance of the store, damaging its doors. The men also observed a silver Chrysler 300 and a dark-colored car at the scene,” 5 On Your Side reported.
The suspects reportedly fired shots at the witnesses but only hit their cars and then they fled the scene, according to the news outlet.
There have also been several reports of attempted robberies in August at Greenlight Dispensary locations in Missouri, according to 5 On Your Side.
A cannabis security consultant and former Missouri police officer, Joe Patterson, said, “The security needs to be a huge underlying force in all the business operations because it is an industry that’s being targeted.”