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Colorado dispensary changes security practices after burglaries

Colorado dispensary changes security practices after being target of burglars
Colorado dispensary changes security practices after being target of burglars 02:45

A dispensary in Commerce City has added more security after being targeted by suspected members of a Colorado crime ring. A total of 23 people are facing charges after investigators say stole around $780,000 in cash, merchandise and other property from dozens of dispensaries.

Denver District Attorney Beth McCann said late last week that teamwork led to the arrest of 23 people who are accused of robbing the marijuana businesses.

"These arrests send an unmistakable message that law enforcement agencies throughout the Denver metro area are committed to working together to disrupt and disband dangerous criminal organizations," McCann said in a prepared statement.


Rita Tsalyuk, CEO and founder of Yuma Way, owns nine dispensaries in Colorado including Stadium Gardens in Commerce City, which was targeted in June. She says she has become familiar with criminals breaking into her buildings; at this point it has become the norm.

"If it has happened to you for the first time, you are so traumatized that you cannot function for a month or two, but when it happens to you for the 50th time, you're like 'Okay, a couple of days are going to go down the drain, but we will live,'" said Tsalyuk.

When Stadium Gardens was robbed Tsalyuk lost $40,000 in merchandise and had to repair at least $20,000 in property damage.

"I am worried more about property damage than I am about product and the hassle of police reporting, accounting and the constant fear that someone is going to damage and take your property away. I feel vulnerable," Tsalyuk said.

This month a group tried to break into another dispensary but failed because of what Tsalyuk thinks were upgrades made to her security practices.

"There's just so much work that needs to be done that is taking us away from the business, and then we usually do not sleep the whole night and we get through this and then we hear another one happened. ... So that's our life," said Tsalyuk.

Those security upgrades include changing doors to metal and glass to polycarbonate.

"We always had surveillance cameras, but now we have people who are observing it at night so every time the dispensary is closed somebody is watching overnight and they still manage to (commit the crimes). It is a huge costs to the business," said Tsalyuk.

She is hoping the DA's office continues to crack down on these cases and catch the individuals responsible.

Tsalyuk says they have insurance, but under her plan each time there's damage there's a $5,000 deductible payment that must be paid in order for it to kick in.

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