Police work hard fighting crime, and the alarm industry depends on the best efforts of local law enforcement to help protect our homes and families. Yes, there are plenty of false alarms, but every now and then police are rewarded for their efforts: it may be busting a troublesome serial burglar, or solving a crime that lingered on the books for a long time. In this story from El Monte, CA, east of LA, local police hit a jackpot (no pun intended!) when a routine dispatch turned into something much more significant.
When Los Angeles deputies responded to a burglary-in-progress call in El Monte, they had no idea they’d be stumbling across one of the biggest marijuana grow houses in the city’s history. On Saturday morning, four men and a teen boy were caught trying to break in to what seemed to be an abandoned warehouse on Continental Avenue. Instead of guns or other weapons, the thieves were armed with gloves and clippers, reports NBC LA. Their getaway car? A U-Haul.
What the Burglars Were After
Eventually, one of the arrested suspects tipped authorities off about their intended target: over 3,000 marijuana plants valued at around $1 million. He alleged that the grow house belongs to his family, who was cutting him out of the profits. He had wrangled four friends into helping him claim his share.
So much for honor among thieves, to say nothing of family loyalty!
Details on the Pot Plantation
After obtaining a search warrant, El Monte police entered the warehouse to carry out what is being touted as “the biggest drug bust in El Monte history.” KTLA’s look inside the El Monte warehouse plantation reveals a secret 3-foot high crawl space where a guard was stationed to watch the door through an air-conditioning vent. Inside, a sophisticated system of lighting and irrigation nurtured thousands of marijuana plants that were just three weeks away from harvest. Finally, the growers evaded detection by sourcing their electricity directly from underground wires, which authorities believe enabled them to steal $10,000 of electricity per month.
Not the First Time
El Monte is no stranger to jackpot marijuana busts. In 2008, a home in a small gated community was busted for housing a $1 million marijuana plantation. In 2010, police busted two more home plantations with estimated values of $250,000 and $1 million.
I’ve posted often on the connection between drug use and the rise in burglaries across the US: most veteran law enforcement professionals recognize that a growing percentage of burglaries are committed to support a drug habit – especially for repeat offenders. Police have even added prescription drugs to the list of items most commonly stolen during home intrusions. This story adds a new twist, though, since the burglars’ target was drug production on a large scale.
We’ll keep our eyes out for more interesting stories to share about burglary and related crimes. FrontPoint may be more focused on residential security, but we have plenty of happy commercial customers, too: retail stores, offices, small warehouses, and other uses, all of which get the benefit of our wireless alarm systems that are safer, smarter, simpler, more affordable, and virtually impossible to defeat. We specialize in cellular monitoring and interactive services, the two most important developments in electronic security – one more reason why we are recognized as the #1 ranked alarm company in the US. Why wait until one of these burglars makes you a statistic? Check out FrontPoint.