Marijuana dispensary burglar takes hash, leaves cash |

Marijuana dispensary burglar takes hash, leaves cash

Joseph Keele
Staff Photo |

A Wyoming man is in custody after allegedly breaking into a dispensary and stealing $6,750 worth of marijuana from the safe last month.

Rifle police responded to a report of a burglary at Rifle Mountain Dispensary on Aug. 2 to find a half-empty safe, several piles of spilled marijuana, a security camera that had apparently been pulled from the ceiling and thrown in a nearby trash can, and a single Newport cigarette butt.

The intruder had, according to the arrest affidavit, apparently entered through a window and managed to pry open the bottom of the safe, accessing about 5.5 pounds of marijuana as well as an array of edibles, seeds, patches and hashish. The cash bag, which was out of reach in the separately locked top of the safe, was not taken.

After reviewing surveillance footage and sharing photos of the suspect, police got a tip that the burglar might be Joseph Keele, 37, of Riverton, Wyoming. According to his arrest affidavit, Keele had several run-ins with Riverton Police before he was arrested for petty theft in Rifle in April.

A warrant was issued for Keele’s arrest on suspicion of felony burglary of a controlled substance and felony theft, and Rifle police caught up with him early Tuesday morning.

Additional charges may be added to the case, Rifle Police Sgt. Mike Tyler said.

According to Tyler, Keele does not appear to have been actively trying to sell any of the marijuana in his possession.

“At this point, I don’t believe that was the primary focus,” Tyler said.

Tyler noted that while the controlled substance theft was an added element, the Rifle Police Department takes every burglary seriously.

Management at Rifle Mountain Dispensary could not be reached for comment.

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

Readers around Glenwood Springs and Garfield County make the Post Independent’s work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Each donation will be used exclusively for the development and creation of increased news coverage.


Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.

User Legend: iconModerator iconTrusted User