COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - Thieves targeted a medical marijuana dispensary for a smash-and-grab early Friday morning in Colorado Springs.
It happened around midnight at the Epic Remedy shop near the intersection of Austin Bluffs Parkway and Academy Boulevard.
Colorado Springs police said at least two people drove a car into one side of the building, and the culprits were able to get away with plants and some other supplies.Workers began repairing the damaged wall Friday afternoon.
Kacey Watts, a homeless man living in his car, said he was in his usual spot in an adjacent parking lot when he saw eight people loitering outside the shop.
"I kept quiet so that they wouldn't notice me," he said. "They did some trial runs in the car. Then they drove it over a curb and crashed it into the wall. It was loud, like a bomb exploding."
Watts said the driver apparently was injured.
"I heard someone say his legs were broken," he said. "He kept asking for someone to help him. They finally saw me but they paid no attention to me. They were too busy carrying out plant after plant. I told police what I saw."
Shop manager Jason McCarthy said the thieves were in the shop for more than 20 minutes and fled before police arrived.
"They seemed to know exactly what to do and where to go," he said. "I can't rule out that a former employee or someone familiar with the building's layout had a hand in this."
An unidentified neighbor said the spot where the car crashed used to be a window when a previous business occupied the building.
Video from the shop's 30 surveillance cameras shows the crash and the thieves scurrying inside.
"Fortunately, we keep the most valuable product in a secure location, so they didn't get that," McCarthy said. "We're still determining the value of the damage and what was taken."
Most medical marijuana dispensaries don't have overnight security guards and McCarthy said he doesn't plan to hire any.
"There's no guarantee that a guard would have stopped this," he said. "And what if a guard gets into a shootout with the criminals? We don't need bullets flying in a busy area. It's not worth it."
Matthew Jamin visited the dispensary for the first time Friday and was surprised to see the damage.
"I agree that you don't need round-the-clock security," he said. "Maybe regular patrols to let people know the place is being watched. Overnight security is expensive. One shop will get hit while another won't. It's just something that happens."
It's part of the risk of doing business in the legal marijuana industry.