Pubdate: Mon, 11 Apr 2005
Source: Province, The (CN BC)
Copyright: 2005 The Province
Author: Ian Austin
Bookmark: (Cannabis - Canada)
Bookmark: (Drug Raids)


Joe Buurman is used to people coming and going at his neighbours' rundown 
Richmond home -- day and night, at any time.

But things were different Saturday night.

"I saw three men run over from the parking lot," said the 65-year-old 
carpenter. "Then I heard the sirens.

"It was like the movies. The police were telling everybody to get out of 
the house."

It was the latest example of a growing trend -- grow rips -- where the 
culprits can't be bothered with the time-consuming job of actually growing 
the marijuana.

Instead, they find out when a lucrative crop is ready for harvest, then 
burst into the grower's home and steal the crop.

Late Saturday, three men targeted the Richmond home in the 23000-block 
Gilley Road. They forced their way in and ordered the six occupants into a 

Five went along with the orders -- one resisted.

"They whipped one guy on the head with a gun, and he escaped and phoned 
911," said Buurman.

Police arrived quickly, and after a brief car chase took three men into 
custody, aided by a tracking dog.

Other than being rundown, the grow-op home is notable for a large pile of wood.

Neighbours believe the occupants, who were renting the home, used the wood 
for heat so they could use electricity for the grow-op without tipping off 

(Skyrocketing Hydro usage is one sign police look for when investigating a 
suspected grow-op.)

For those visiting the home by mistake, the message is clear -- steer clear.

If the two "Beware of Dog" signs don't stop the casual visitor, how about 
this sign: "We Shoot Every Third Salesman. The Second One Just Left."

In custody are three men -- aged 37, 24, and 22, all known to police -- and 
a considerable amount of "very recently cropped-off marijuana."
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