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Robbers invade Oakland pot club



OAKLAND -- A medical marijuana club in Oakland's so-called Oaksterdam
district was the target of an invasion-style armed robbery Sunday

Four men, one with a gun, tied up a bouncer outside Compassionate
Caregivers at about 8:10 a.m. and barrelled their way to where the
cannabis club is located on the top floor of the three-story
building, police said.

Several medical marijuana patients and staff members were inside the
club at 1740 Telegraph Ave., part of an area known as Oaksterdam
because of the proliferation of marijuana dispensaries that have
opened in the triangle between Telegraph Avenue, Broadway and 17th
and 19th streets in recent months.

The gunmen tied up another person inside the dispensary and took
several ounces of marijuana and a significant amount of cash before
fleeing, police said.

The bouncer -- whose job is to ensure that patrons have medical
marijuana user's cards -- was able to free himself and run to the
19th Street BART station, where he phoned police.

Oakland Police Sgt. Hugh Kidd said no one was injured and no patrons
or staff members were robbed individually.

Club personnel were cooperative with police, Kidd said.

No arrests have been made.

A person answering the phone Sunday at Compassionate Caregivers,
where music played loudly in the background, said everyone at the
club was fine, but he declined to comment further.

Oakland was one of the first U.S. cities to legitimize the use of
medical marijuana by deputizing a former club on Broadway as a
distributor. That dispensary was shut down by the U.S. Drug
Enforcement Agency in 1998, but a number of marijuana-related
businesses have sprung up in the neighborhood to replace it.

Cannabis clubs in Berkeley and Sacramento have been hit by similar
armed robberies in recent years.
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East Bay Times - Contra Costa and Alameda county news, sports, entertainment, lifestyle and commentary
Oakland Tribune Nov 10, 2003
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