Early Saturday morning, a spokesman for the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office says two gunmen invaded a home and kidnapped three people -- a married couple and a male roommate. A subsequent car chase ended with a crash in Denver.
At this writing, the suspects haven't been captured or identified, and no names have been released in regard to the victims, either. However, the JCSO rep says investigators believe the ultimate destination was a marijuana grow house.
At 12:30 a.m. on Saturday, May 24, the JCSO says dispatchers received a 911 call in reference to a home invasion and kidnapping on the 16900 block of West 73rd Place.
The caller told the operator that two men with handguns -- one African American, the other Hispanic -- had forced their way into the home. There, they allegedly compelled the two men and one woman living there to get into the married couple's car along with the African-American suspect and take off. The Hispanic man didn't accompany them and his whereabouts after entering the house are unknown.
Moments later, an officer with the Mountain View Police Department spotted the car on Interstate 70 near Sheridan Boulevard, an area captured in the following interactive graphic. If you have problems seeing the image, click "View Larger Map."
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Soon thereafter, the chase was on. It's said to have ended with crumpled metal near the 2300 block of Stout Street in Denver. Here's an interactive graphic of that area.
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Update: An e-mailer whose car was damaged in the accident tells us the police have misidentified the actual address for the crash. This individual puts the actual spot of the crash at 26th between Champa and Stout.
After the wreck, the suspect jumped out of the car and split -- and he managed to get away.
As for the kidnapping victims, the two men are said to have sustained minor injuries while the woman was unharmed -- physically, anyhow.
In its initial release, the JCSO noted that "the relationship between the victims and the suspects is believed to be tied to a marijuana-based business." Earlier today, however, Sergeant Mark Techmeyer, an office spokesman, divulged that the business was a grow house owned by one of the victims. The group is thought to have been headed to the facility when the car was eyeballed by police.
Marijuana-related incidents like this one are rare, but expect critics who believe cannabis leads to crime to site it in the future.
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If you have information about these incidents, you're encouraged to contact the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office tip line at 303-271-5612.
Send your story tips to the author, Michael Roberts.
More from our Marijuana archive circa February 19: "Medical marijuana stores impact neighborhoods in Denver no more than coffee shops, study says."