Marijuana dispensary burglar takes hash, leaves cash
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.
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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.
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