Smash and grab: Thief targets Vancouver pot dispensaries
Two Vancouver marijuana dispensaries were seriously damaged Saturday after being targeted by a bold thief.
According to the police, the alleged crime spree began when a man crashed a stolen minivan through the front windows of the Stressed and Depressed Association on East 41st Avenue at Knight Street.
David Malmo-Levine, cannabis activist and co-founder of the Stressed and Depressed Association, said extracts and glass pipes worth nearly $6,000 were stolen.
“They took out a wall,” Malmo-Levine told CTV News. “We haven’t got an estimate on how much that would cost to replace but it was fairly extensive.”
The same man allegedly moved on and tried to rob the Canna Clinic on East Hastings Street before police chased him down. Police told the store owners the suspect was bitten by a police dog and taken into custody.
Marke McNichol, owner of a coffee shop next door to Canna Clinic, said there is “a little bit of concern” about crime coming into his neighbourhood along with dispensaries.
“I am for pot legalization, so if I'm going to stand by that I need to be open to let the industry try and prove themselves,” he said.
The high demand for the dispensary’s products brings the potential for impulsive crime.
“The dispensary sells a valuable item that’s easy to re-sell, so it is a target for thieves, similar to how alcohol stores and pharmacies are all targets for thieves,” Malmo-Levine said.
These latest attempted robberies come several months after pot dispensary Weeds Glass & Gifts was robbed by men armed with bear spray and a handgun. The suspects in that robbery escaped.
Malmo-Levine though the store had iron bars, cameras and an alarm system, he is planning on putting up more preventative measures in front of the business.
“We’re gonna put up some crash posts so something like this can’t happen again,” Malmo-Levine said. “It's a small price to pay for having my neighbours feel comfortable with us here.”
With a report from CTV Vancouver’s Alex Turner