Pubdate: Sun, 31 May 2015
Source: Province, The (CN BC)
Copyright: 2015 Postmedia Network Inc.
Author: Nick Eagland
Page: 3


Apparent ram-raids on dispensaries early Saturday just the latest in
rash of lootings

A wave of thefts has hit Vancouver pot businesses over the past two
weeks, including two apparent ram-raiding attempts on medical
marijuana dispensaries early Saturday.

Thieves drove a van through the front windows of Stressed and
Depressed Association dispensary at 1353 E. 41st Ave. about 4:20 a.m.
Saturday, manager Chad Rowsell said.

They made off with about $6,000 worth of marijuana, hash oil, edibles
and other pot products.

The thieves didn't gain access to the dispensary's backroom, where
more products were stored, but did cause significant damage to the
building, Rowsell said.

"I'm always concerned about this s--t happening, I have been from day
one," he added.

He said police were investigating the robbery but he'd learned that a
suspect was taken into custody in South Vancouver later that morning.

He pointed out the irony in the exact time of the break-in: "4/20" is
an oft-used code word for cannabis and its use.

The dispensary will be looking at security upgrades, including the
installation of concrete bollards in front of the building, Rowsell

It will also be hosting an art auction and fundraiser June 18 to help
recoup costs.

Shortly after the dispensary was hit, the same thieves drove their van
into the Canna Clinic dispensary at 2347 E. Hastings St., according to

No one from Canna Clinic was available for comment, but one of the
dispensary's front windows had been smashed and a sliding metal gate
on the property appeared severely damaged Saturday morning.

The storefront was surrounded by police tape and two people were
outside sweeping up broken glass. It's unclear if anything was stolen.

The dispensary reopened Saturday afternoon, according to a post to its
Twitter account.

No one from the Vancouver Police Department was available for comment
before press time Saturday.

Marc Emery's Cannabis Culture Headquarters (CCHQ) store at 307 W.
Hastings St. - which isn't a dispensary but sells smoking equipment
and pot-themed merchandise - was broken into overnight May 22.

Emery's wife Jodie said last week that it was a mystery how the
thieves got in, but she noted CCHQ has been broken into by "very
inventive" people in the past.

The perpetrators destroyed an empty cash register and made off with
more than $1,500 worth of bongs and 16 boxes of rolling papers.

Ignite Smoke Shop in Gastown, which sells vaporizers, bongs and other
smoking equipment, was also broken into May 22.

Scales and butane torches valued at a few hundred dollars were taken
during the smash and grab, said manager Gabby Dionne, who suspects it
was a crime of opportunity rather than a targeted theft.

Two weeks ago, the Vancouver Seed Bank - which sells seeds from
marijuana and other plants - had its location above the CCHQ store
plundered, according to an employee.

"There seems to have been a rash of them (break-ins) recently," said
the staffer, who identified himself as Patrick.

"I'm not certain if it's all one person or if it's a group of
different people."

He said the thief or thieves entered through a window and made off
with "a good value" of specific seeds, which suggested they knew what
they were looking for.

The business is still assessing the value of the damage and of the
products taken.
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