The Denver Police Department is warning local marijuana business owners of a rise in customer thefts reported outside of dispensaries.
According to an advisory sent to Denver marijuana business owners on January 8, the DPD has recently received reports of dispensary customers "being targeted by thieves as they are leaving marijuana store locations," noting that the suspect or suspects have approached customers and snatched purchased items from their hands before fleeing the area.
The advisory included suggestions for how dispensaries can further protect customers, including visible security measures and routinely monitoring parking lots, storefronts and other areas surrounding the businesses.
"It may be advisable for customers to conceal their purchases by placing them into a pocket, purse, or other means available when possible. Visible deterrence such as security personnel, cameras, and adequately lit egress paths and parking areas also serve as prevention and safety measures," it reads.
Dispensaries, which frequently operate with only cash because of marijuana's federal prohibition, require an ID check for customers before entry. As a result, security guards are a common sight at pot shops — but they're not mandatory, and a large number of dispensaries don't currently employ private security.
The DPD has sent out several crime-related memos to the marijuana industry over the past several months, including warnings of increased after-hour burglaries and a texting scam aimed at stealing cash from marijuana industry employees and businesses. In this recent announcement, the department encourages marijuana businesses to contact community resource officers within their respective districts, and says it will offer extra local patrols around storefronts when time allows.
We've reached out to the DPD for more information on these incidents, but in the meantime, an important note: This advisory made no mention of armed robbery, unlike other alerts.
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