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Claremont marijuana dispensary burglarized

Jim Finnel

Fallen Cannabis Warrior & Ex News Moderator
CLAREMONT - Burglars stole nine marijuana plants after breaking into the city's medical marijuana dispensary, police discovered Friday morning.

Police responded at about 7:45 a.m. to Claremont All-Natural Nutrition Aids Buyers Information Services in the 600 block of S. Indian Hill Boulevard, after a city official driving past the location saw that a window had been broken.

Darrell Kruse, the owner of the dispensary, said the plants taken - nine of his 13 "mother" plants - were of no monetary value because they had not yet matured, rendering the smokable part of the plant useless.

"You won't get high," he said. "You might get a headache."

The dispensary resumed serving patients less than an hour after the discovered break-in. Kruse replaced the broken window, and files and computers needed to operate the dispensary were untouched.

"Nothing of real value was taken," he said. "They left a nice $250 fan that anybody can carry off in a second. They left a TV, a DVD player. The stuff they wanted was probably locked well away, and there wasn't any way they could get to it."

Investigators dusted for fingerprints at the scene, Kruse said, but Claremont police Sgt. Karlan Bennett declined to say whether any evidence had been recovered.

The controversial dispensary, which has battled City Hall since it opened in September without a business license, is now coming under closer scrutiny from city officials, as one central fear - that the business would attract crime - appears to have been realized.

"Potentially these dispensaries can serve as a crime magnet in a community," Councilman Corey Calaycay said. "Having a dispensary in town could put an additional burden on our police, and we already have needs for other public safety priorities in our community."

Kruse conceded Saturday that his dispensary was an attraction for criminals, but he disputed the suggestion that it's more of a target than any other business.

"The banks are more secure these days, so they don't have a lot of problems, but liquor stores still have problems. Any place that has something that's desired by people will always have problems," he said.

The burglary comes a week prior to a Feb. 2 court hearing on the city's request for a temporary injunction to force the dispensary to close.

Kruse was found guilty earlier this month of operating without a business license, but despite the ruling has refused to close. Fines levied against Kruse of $500-a-day during the last two weeks have also failed to shutter his business.

In Friday's hearing, scheduled for 8:30 a.m. at the Los Angeles County Superior Court's Pomona branch, Kruse said he expects the city to use the break-in while arguing for the injunction.

"I would expect them to make this known to the judge at least, and probably bring it up, but I don't think it's indicative of what may happen in the future," he said. "It was probably just kids."

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