Summary: Local cannabis businesses in Santa Cruz and the surrounding areas are facing a growing concern of sophisticated burglaries. These masked individuals break into tightly secured shops, stealing valuable products and cash, causing significant damage, and making a quick getaway. The frequency of these incidents has led to public safety concerns and frustration from business owners. However, the police have not made any arrests, sparking criticism about their failure to address the issue. Industry leaders are voicing their frustrations and pleading for help from local officials.

Title: Cannabis Industry Grapples with Escalating Problem of Burglaries

The cannabis industry in Santa Cruz is experiencing a rise in highly coordinated burglaries that target cannabis businesses. These burglaries involve masked individuals who break into well-secured shops, steal valuable merchandise and cash, cause extensive damage, and escape within minutes. Since last year, eight burglaries have occurred in Santa Cruz, with businesses in Watsonville and unincorporated areas also being targeted.

The increasing frequency of these incidents is causing concern among business owners and local officials. In November, an attempted burglary at Decibel Gardens resulted in the business owner, Derek Hubbard, intervening and firing gunshots at the burglars. While some in the industry saw Hubbard’s actions as a release of their frustrations with law enforcement, the police viewed it as reckless vigilantism. Hubbard was charged with assault with a deadly weapon, which further fueled the industry’s outcry for help and support from local officials.

Business owners are frustrated with the lack of arrests and response from law enforcement. They argue that the police need to prioritize these crimes and send a message to thieves that Santa Cruz is not an easy target. In response to the escalating problem, industry stakeholders are scheduled to have a private meeting with city officials and the police chief to discuss the disagreement over law enforcement’s role in preventing, investigating, and arresting criminals involved in these burglaries.

The burglaries are carried out masked teams with coordinated plans, using multiple getaway cars. The burglars are swift, spending no more than 10 minutes on the property. Security footage from various break-ins shows the extent of the planning and damage caused. Business owners are now contemplating taking matters into their own hands to protect their livelihoods, with some expressing their willingness to engage in confrontations with these criminals.

While the Santa Cruz Police Chief, Bernie Escalante, understands the desire to protect property, he emphasizes that extreme measures like gunfire are not justified. Escalante assures business owners that the police department is actively working on these cases and has responded quickly to incidents. He attributes the lack of arrests to insufficient evidence and dismisses the idea that cannabis businesses receive lax treatment from law enforcement.

Frustrated the lack of progress, some business owners have resorted to hiring private investigators to build cases against the burglars. Despite the challenges faced the industry and the police, both parties agree that cannabis businesses are a target not only in Santa Cruz but also in other areas.

 Rising Number of Highly Organized Burglaries Plague Local Cannabis Industry – TickerTV News  Read More