Posted on December 6, 2021

Looters Steal $5 Million of Products From 15 Cannabis Shops in the San Francisco Bay Area in a Single Month

Ronny Reyes, Daily Mail, December 4, 2021

Cannabis shops across the San Francisco Bay Area have been thrown into dire straits as gangs of thieves broke into more than 15 shops throughout November during the series of ‘smash-and-grab’ robberies that are plaguing California.

Oakland Police Chief LeRonne Armstrong told reporters that ‘hundreds’ of vehicles targeted marijuana stores in Oakland last month, firing 175 shots and stealing about $5 million worth of products.

Alphonso ‘Tucky’ Blunt, owner of Blunts and Moore, told MJBizDaily that his store lost about $25,000 during a November 22 raid, where more than a dozen burglars ransacked the store.

‘I know 25 or so businesses that got hit … and out of all those, the percentage I know that told me that they may not be able to reopen is about 50 percent. That’s scary,’ Blunt said.

‘I was safer, and had more money, (selling) on the street, illegally.’

Blunt and other marijuana shop owners said that their businesses are targeted because thieves believe they have a lot of cash on hand, which they said is not the case.

Blunt estimated that his shop has been vandalized or robbed at least 10 times since opening in 2018.

Amber Senter, the co-founder of Supernova Women – an Oakland-based nonprofit that helps women of color in the cannabis business – said robberies can be a death knell for dispensaries because insurance coverage is hard for them to get.

‘A lot of these folks are not open and won’t be open for a while, because they can’t bounce back from these things,’ Senter said during a November 29 news conference about the Oakland robberies.

‘They don’t have the runway and the extra capital and the war chest of cash to come back from something like this.’

Senter’s own business EquityWorks! Incubator was also robbed, which houses several small social equity marihuana companies.

Along with Blunt and Senter’s businesses, some of the other cannabis shops hit in the Bay Area include: Bay Area Safe Alternatives, Blum Dispensary, Eco Cannabis, Purple Heart Patient Center, Community Gardens, Oakland Embarc Martinez, Phytologie Oakland, and Magnolia Oakland.

Footage of the Bay Area Save Alternative robbery on November 16 shows a pair of robbers stuffing bags full of cannabis before running out the shop at 4.30 am.

‘I was angry when I saw the footage,’ Anisa Alazraie, whose father owns the dispensary, told NBC. She said police had arrived in the middle of the robbery but failed to act quickly enough to stop the robbers.

Two days later, the Embarc Martinez dispensary was also looted by three armed men wearing ski-masks. A store employee told police the suspects stole a large amount of cannabis and some of his personal belongings before fleeing in a black Honda sedan.

The following week, the Eco Cannabis store, in Oakland, was targeted by thieves who pried the metal security doors open and raided the story. That same night, armed thieves robbed the Blum Dispensary in nearby San Leandro.

Police said multiple vehicles pulled up on the dispensary and started shooting, damaging the store.

Raeven Duckett-Robinson, owner of Community Gardens in Oakland, echoed the concerns about the rampant burglaries after her shop was also robbed last month. She told MJBizDaily that most cannabis shop owners ‘living and working hand to mouth’ and could not wait for an insurance claim to help them.

‘Even if you do get the insurance money, it’s not going to be next week,’ Duckett-Robinson said.

Blunt told KRON4 that Oakland officers advised him to hire armed guards to shoot potential looters, something Armstrong denied during a news conference this week.

The San Francisco Bay Area and Los Angeles have been among the hardest hit regions in a series of robberies undertaken by gangs of thieves.

Police in Los Angeles had announced 14 arrests on Thursday in connection with 11 recent smash-and-grab robberies at stores where nearly $340,000 worth of merchandise was stolen, but all the suspects have been released.

Los Angeles Police Chief Michel Moore said that most of the accused robbers suspected of ransacking businesses between November 18 and 28 were bailed out or met no-bail criteria, and one is a juvenile.

At a joint news conference, both Moore and Mayor Eric Garcetti called for an end to a no-bail policy for some defendants aimed at reducing overcrowding at Los Angeles County jails during the coronavirus pandemic.

It made some ‘non-violent’ property crimes, where the value of the stolen goods does not exceed $950, into misdemeanors.

It also made some ‘simple’ drug possession offenses into misdemeanors, and allows past convictions for these charges to be reduced to a misdemeanor by a court.

Under California law, though, if two or more person’s conspire to ‘cheat and defraud any person or any property, by any means which are in themselves criminal’ they can face no more than one year in county prison, a fine of $10,000 or a combination of the two.

In California, a statewide policy of imposing $0 bail for misdemeanors and lower-level felonies ended last year, but it was kept in place within the LA County Superior Court system.

‘You could be arrested for a crime such as burglary, a serious felony… and that’s zero bail, meaning that we book and process and identify you, and then your arraignment day is three to four months from now,’ Moore said.

LAPD’s top cop said at least $338,000 in goods were stolen over ten days from stores and malls across the city that incurred $40,000 in property damage. Investigators are searching for multiple outstanding suspects, he said.

There were 7,386 robberies in Los Angeles this year through November 20, the LAPD’s most recent data, as compared to 7,386 last year.

Among the latest of the brazen of robberies in LA includes a pair or robbers who cornered a mother with her baby on the driveway of her mansion as she waited for its electronic gates to close on Sunday.

The Los Angeles Police Department, which shared footage of the crime on Twitter, is asking for help finding the suspects who robbed the mother in broad daylight.

The unidentified woman is seen in the video walking into her driveway with her infant in a stroller.

The two robbers walk past the home, then turn around and walk inside before the electronic gates could close.

They then back the woman against the wall of her property, take a diaper bag off her back and grab a cooler from inside her stroller before fleeing in a car parked outside.

‘Fearing for her and her child’s safety, the victim complied’ with the thieves demands that she hand over her belongings, the LAPD wrote in its Twitter post.’

Shocking photos obtained by show the musician’s decimated sliding glass doors, though police pointedly declined to confirm that robbery was the suspected motive, saying all possibilities are under consideration.

Law enforcement sources told the LA Times that at least one burglar made it into the $7 million mansion before Jacqueline was killed, although it is unclear if that person was apprehended, and no description for a possible suspect has been issued.

Tributes have since been pouring out for the noted philanthropist, including from Bill Clinton and Magic Johnson, and Tyler Perry is vowing to devote ‘every available resource’ to tracking down those responsible.

In a statement to, the victim’s family said: ‘The entire Avant and Sarandos families wish to thank everyone for their outpouring of love, support and heartfelt condolences for Jacqueline Avant.’

Aariel Maynor, 29, a career criminal, was arrested on Wednesday for the murder.

San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin last week announced felony charges against nine people for a series of thefts, and Bay Area prosecutors announced a joint effort to combat organized retail theft.

In the Bay Area, the City Council in Walnut Creek this week approved an additional $2 million for policing after nearly 100 thieves wearing ski masks carried out a smash-and-grab mob robbery at a Nordstrom store in late November.

An estimated $125,000 in merchandise was stolen. Two employees were assaulted and one was hit with pepper spray.

San Francisco Bay Area saw a robbery involving a gaggle of hammer-wielding masked bandits who ransacked jewelry, sunglasses and clothing stores at the Southland Mall in the San Jose suburb of Hayward.

Dramatic footage showed a group of about 40 to 50 robbers smashing glass display cases at Sam’s Jewelers at the mall. Staffers are seen screaming in terror as the heist unfolded.