A Kelso marijuana producer is offering a $5,000 reward after a group of burglars stole up to 150 pounds of pot with a wholesale value of $250,000 early Sunday morning.
“After all the work we put into it, and all the care, it’s sickening,” Courtney Roberts, owner of Cascade Mountain LLC, told TDN on Tuesday.
Despite the burglars’ attempts to destroy surveillance cameras, the business was able to give police photos and video footage of the heist. (The video is attached to the online version of this story.)
Cascade employee John Akin said five or six people broke into the rear of the facility, then into a dry room where the latest crop was hanging. He said it seemed somewhat planned, because they used walkie-talkies and some wore masks.
Akin said cameras picked up the thieves, including an image of one person’s face before he put a mask on, and a tattoo on one person’s arm.
Three burglars wore “Oregunian” sweatshirts from the Oregun Second Amendment shop. Mark Michaelson, Cascade’s director of operations, said the brand has agreed to share images of the thieves on its social media.
Roberts is also offering a $5,000 cash reward for a tip that leads to an arrest.
The business is located in an unmarked building in the Kelso industrial area.
Roberts said she started Cascade Mountain LLC in Longview five years ago. She has been at the Kelso location for two and a half years.
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Michaelson said between 130 and 150 pounds of dried marijuana were stolen. It’s likely already on the black market, further harming legal businesses, he said.
The retail value of the stolen pot is three times the $250,000 wholesale value, Akin said.
The crop had already been “pre-sold” to retailers, Akin said
“It was one of our best crops in a while, and it’s a huge chunk of our payroll,” Akin said.
Michaelson said Cascade won’t be able to harvest another crop for six to eight weeks, leaving him concerned about covering costs until then.
“How do we survive that?” Michaelson said. “We have seven employees here who rely on this to make rent payments, to feed their kids. It’s heartbreaking and aggravating.”
The business must replace and repair its security systems. It was unknown why the motion sensor system did not detect the burglars.
Michaelson said with the amount of footage the security camera got, he hopes there will be arrests made.
“Somebody will know who these guys are.”