Northern California

Sonoma County sees spate of marijuana-related home invasions

SANTA ROSA, Calif. (AP) — Authorities in Northern California are investigating a spate of violent marijuana-related home invasions by intruders who officials say are traveling from out of state for the robberies.

In the latest robbery Wednesday, two men broke into a Santa Rosa home, tied up a female resident and made off with an unknown amount of marijuana. The robbery is Sonoma County’s sixth cannabis-connected home invasion since February, the San Francisco Chronicle reported Thursday.

Officials say the recent legalization of cannabis for California adults 21 and over is directly contributing to the recent spate of home invasions in the North Bay.

“The only clarity we know is that word has gotten out that marijuana in California is abundant and it’s easy to get,” said Sgt. Spencer Crum, a spokesman for the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office. “And it’s way more profitable in the areas where they live, where it’s illegal.”

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A man from Miami was arrested Thursday in Oakland for Wednesday’s robbery. The second suspect remains at large, the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office said.

Authorities in March arrested seven men from North Carolina and Virginia for allegedly invading three homes in Petaluma to steal marijuana. No marijuana was actually stolen in those home invasions.

In February, four men and a woman allegedly invaded two houses in Santa Rosa in search of marijuana and killed a man, Jose Luis Torres, 54, at one of the homes. The suspects then led police on a high-speed chase to Vallejo before being arrested.

The four men arrested are from Mississippi, New York, Virginia and Santa Rosa. A woman from Virginia was later arrested in North Carolina.

Investigators found that the suspects in the February and March cases came to the Bay Area “with the express purpose of stealing marijuana,” Crum said.

Information from: San Francisco Chronicle, http://www.sfgate.com


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