SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — Sacramento police are investigating a series of burglaries targeting local cannabis distributors.
The thieves are breaking into warehouses in the early morning hours and taking off with up to $100,000 worth of marijuana.
A bent and busted iron fence was just some of the damage left behind by a crew of cannabis crooks.
"They cut gates, they drove vehicles through walls, they pulled out all the stops to get in," said Brandy Moulton, CEO of Sovereign.
Sacramento police say there's been more than 50 marijuana business break-ins since August, including at least six in just the last week.
"We unfortunately have seen an enormous increase in cannabis related burglaries," said Sacramento Police Sgt. Matt Young.
Surveillance video from the most recent crime shows a crew of at least seven people, in two cars, breaking into a warehouse run by Sovereign, a delivery-only dispensary.
"They made it out before the cops did show up and they hit somebody else seven minutes down the road," Moulton said.
Moulton's warehouse has now been targeted twice in the last two weeks.
"For smaller, locally owned mom-and-pop-style businesses like myself, a financial hit like this can literally put you out of business," she said.
Most warehouses are not open to the public and have large cannabis growing operations inside. But owners say the thieves often leave the plants – and only take cash and marijuana that's already been harvested for distribution.
The city requires all cannabis production facilities to have cameras, alarms, and other security in place, but police are urging owners to take even more measures to protect their pot.
"The way that these series go away is if the criminals make entry and they don't get anything," Sgt. Young said. "That will send a message to them that this geographic area isn't good for them to attempt these crime in."
Moulton's employees are now taking shifts to monitor security video feeds in real time.
"I don't know if I can take one more hit and I do unfortunately suspect they will be back," Moulton said.
Business owners say they also have problems getting insurance for these type of crimes because the growing and sale of marijuana is still illegal on the federal level.
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