A man accused of trying to burglarize a medical marijuana dispensary was arrested by San Jose police early Jan. 21.
Police arrested the suspect, whose name was not immediately released, after several hours searching for him. He was found hiding in the elevator shaft of a neighboring dance studio, and was brought to the Santa Clara County jail and booked on burglary charges.
The search began at 2:15 a.m., when a security alarm went off at the Haze MMJ shop, located in a strip mall at Hillsdale and Camden avenues. When they arrived, police saw the suspect on the roof.
The man fled with stolen marijuana and other items taken from the pot shop. After a long search of other stores in the building, officers found him hiding in the elevator shaft of the dance studio.
Several neighbors spotted the suspect on the roof of the building the day before but weren’t sure what he was doing.
“Yesterday my neighbor and I noticed that there was a man on the roof, casing the rooftop,” said Hans Schmitt, owner of Dance Boulevard, a popular hangout in the neighborhood. “We couldn’t figure out if he was a worker or if he was here under bad pretenses, and now we know.
“We discussed it,” Schmitt said. “Who’s the guy walking on the roof?”
Schmitt said the man was looking for a way down from the roof. That’s where police found him hours later after allegedly burglarizing Haze. They gave chase, but he wasn’t easy to catch.
Officers climbed to the roof on a fire ladder, where they found paraphernalia and bags of marijuana they said the suspect left behind while fleeing. Next, the officers’ police dog located the suspect after a three-hour search. The stolen items were later returned to the pot shop.
Police said they didn’t know the value of the stolen items. “It’s hard to say,” an unnamed officer said. “It’s all on a donation basis.”
But the real cost is likely to come in the form of repairs to the building, including the elevator.
Crimes involving medical marijuana dispensaries are relatively rare, news reports and political hyperbole notwithstanding. Studies have shown pot shops don’t change the criminal dynamics of the neighborhoods in which they locate.
Yet the City of San Jose has been acting to tightly limit dispensaries, in part because of alleged community complaints. Until December, the city council was expected to ban pot shops outright, but instead opted to enact strict regulations that will limit the stores to North and South San Jose.
“We feel there are too many dispensaries in San Jose,” Santa Clara County Deputy District Attorney Christopher Arriola said last month. “There are some that are run responsibly. Some are not.”