The High Times Medical Cannabis Cup this past weekend earned high marks from William Breathes, our medical marijuana critic. But Greg Childre's memories of the bash will be tainted by what happened right afterward: Suspects unknown pulled up to a giant GrowBot trailer worth $50,000 that he showed off at the event and drove away with it.
Childre is the man behind Covered Wagon Trailers, a company based in Fitzgerald, Georgia. According to him, "We make all kinds of different trailers," most of them for pretty conventional uses. But when he was contacted by GrowBot, a Los Angeles firm specializing in mobile grow facilities, he eagerly designed something new for the firm. "We took on this project for the fun of it," he says.
He describes the GrowBot as "a controlled environment for anything you want to grow -- any particular vegetation. We've got people who grow blueberries and mushrooms in them, but cannabis is the most popular thing, because it's so fragile." The trailer is "totally sealed off, and cannabis can be grown ebb and flow, hydroponic, with various dirts. Any type of growing application can be done in it, and it has its own built-in feeder system. All the pH is measured, and it's computer controlled. It can be controlled from a cell phone, from a laptop. You can be hundreds of miles away and still grow and monitor it."
As a High Times Medical Cannabis Cup vendor, Childre brought a top-of-the-line GrowBot for display. "It's twelve feet tall, 28 feet long, eight-and-a-half feet wide, and weights about 7,000 pounds," he notes. "It's white, with various stickers on the side, although they may have pulled those off by now."
The model was manufactured in November and first used in Denver. "It's worth $50,000," he says. "That's what I've got in it."
How did it disappear? About twenty minutes after the conclusion of the Cannabis Cup, which took place at Denver's EXDO Event Center, Childre was preparing to leave as men wearing hoodies and driving a black Dodge truck pulled up to the GrowBot "and just drove off with it."
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Security personnel were prevalent nearby, Childre says, and so were security cameras. Due to their high angle, however, the cameras failed to capture good images of faces or the license plate on the truck -- something Childre believes the thieves factored in. "This was most definitely planned in advance," he believes. "They knew what they were doing. They were in and out of there in less than ten minutes."
No clues about the GrowBot's whereabouts have surfaced thus far, but Childre's hoping his offer of up to a $5,000 reward will help inspire people with knowledge of the incident to step forward. Those who do can phone the Denver Police Department's Crime Stoppers number, 720-913-STOP (7867), or one of Childre's associates at 303-598-2929.
Here are two surveillance photos of the truck that drove away with the GrowBot.
More from our Marijuana archive: "High Times Medical Cannabis Cup in Denver: Editor Dan Skye's preview (PHOTOS, VIDEO)."