Smash & Grab Wave Reaches Cannabis Dispensaries

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Damir Mujezinovic

High-end stores in several American cities have been targeted by burglars over the past several weeks, in what is being described as an unprecedented smash and grab wave.

Brazen criminals, sometimes dozens of them, have been recorded walking into Louis Vuitton and other high-end stores, and stealing hundreds of thousands worth of merchandise.

Authorities reportedly believe these burglaries are coordinated, and organized by a sophisticated crime network.

But new reports suggest that cannabis dispensaries have also been targeted by thieves, with police essentially letting the perpetrators do as they please.

Criminals Target Cannabis Businesses

As reported by SFist, several cannabis dispensaries in Oakland and San Francisco have been targeted by smash and grab thieves.

Last week on Tuesday morning, an individual was recorded crowbarring their way into a San Francisco cannabis dispensary with ease.

Surveillance footage shows that a robber was able to steal two full trash bags of product, before getting into a gateway car.

But that wasn't even the most disturbing part of the robbery: it was police officers' reaction, or lack thereof, that raised eyebrows.

Police Stand By And Watch

The same surveillance video shows police shining a spotlight on the getaway car. A second suspect is then seen helping the first suspect load stolen goods into the car, while a third suspects is seen carrying yet another bag of stolen goods.

According to the video, for around 40 seconds, the police and the suspects were on the scene at the same time, but officers did nothing, letting the thieves get away.

A surveillance video was posted to Twitter by Audrey Asistio of NBC Bay Area and can be viewed below.

Police 'Had Every Opportunity To Intervene'

The dispensary owner's daughter Anisa Alazraie, a a former intern with the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office, was shocked by the officers' behavior.

"They are less than 100 feet away from each other. So the police are right there," Alazraie told SFlist.

"They had every opportunity to intervene and stop this crime from happening, get these people caught. It almost appears that they chose not to," she said.

As the outlet noted, the police were much more aggressive when they responded to Louis Vuitton smash and grabs.

Bay Area Law Enforcement

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According to The Mercury News, Bay Area law enforcement authorities have issued several warnings.

Oakland police Chief LeRonne Armstrong said that "hundreds" of vehicles targeted cannabis dispensaries on Friday, with robbers firing more than 175 shots.

"We’re not going to tolerate this type of activity within the city of Oakland. We’re going to respond," Armstrong said.

San Jose police Sgt. Christian Camarillo, meanwhile, said that "people need to be alert."

"We’re coming into the busy holiday shopping season. We can’t be everywhere at the same time. We do need citizens’ help; when they see suspicious activity occurring, please let us know, especially at the malls," Camarillo explained.