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| Crime |

Medical marijuana: Three-peat of attempted dispensary burglaries baffle owner

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Verde Wellness's Chuck Blackton locks up his medical marijuana buds, edibles, hash and tinctures in a Volkswagen-sized, all-but-dynamite-proof safe each night. So does every dispensary owner who follows the law (or has any sense) -- which makes the three after-hours break-ins Verde's experienced comically pathetic.

Verde has been in business on Colfax for nearly two years (check our review of the shop here). But in recent months, Blackton says he's suffered a trio of B&E's by would-be crooks. The first involved a group of "kids in hoodies and bandannas," who didn't find anything -- which makes the same crew's decision to bust in a second time even more baffling to him.

The most recent break-in left a shattered plate glass window, security doors gnarled from being pried open and some minor damage to furniture and artwork. The crooks weren't total shitbags, and thankfully the shelves of high-end Sheldon Black pieces and irreplaceable pipes and slides from local artists were left untouched.

Still, these clearly weren't the most intelligent crooks.

Lets look past breaking into a place on a street Denver police patrol more often than pretty much any other road in the city and move right to the Colorado law mandating that damn near every inch of a dispensary be covered by 24/7 surveillance cameras. Unlike every other business in the state, the cameras are constantly fed to a room where cops may or may not be watching. Patient privacy issues aside, this makes anything that goes on inside a dispensary very well documented.

Cameras aside, the law also says dispensaries have to lock up all of their products each night. So breaking into a dispensary after hours is akin to breaking into a bank after all the tellers have gone home. Unless you're a team of professional safe-crackers, you aren't going to get much of anything. And given that every one of these inept crooks tripped the security alarms, this scenario isn't likely.

Essentially, people who are breaking into these places after hours are dumbasses. At most, they may wind up with a dispensary-logo T-shirt or a few glass pipes that could well shatter during the getaway.

Blackton sees the burglaries as more of an annoyance than a safety issue. "We've put a lot of money into security, so I'm not worried about that," he says. "It's that I'm spending money cleaning up after this shit. I lose money in the robbery, these [burglars] get nothing, and if they get caught, they are doing time for nothing. And they are going to get caught, bottom line. Any burglars -- when you start doing that, you're desperate. I mean, if you're going to do something, at least be good at it."

More from our Marijuana archives: "Herbal Wellness, Fort Collins pot shop, open after armed robbery;" "Medical marijuana dispensary security cameras key to busting Pagosa Springs burglary ring" and "Fort Carson soldier busted for MMJ burglary says he wanted to destroy the pot."

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