Three Men Arrested During Attempted Marijuana Rip-Off

UPDATE @ 3:10 p.m.  After further investigation by detectives, it appears the marijuana in the facility was intended for medical use.

Three men are in custody after a robbery inside a building in South Park early this morning.  At approximately 12:37 a.m. officers responded to the 8300 block of Dallas Avenue South for the report of a robbery-in-progress inside a building containing marijuana.

Preliminary investigation indicates that the adult male victim was inside the facility (a commercial-style building) talking on the phone when three unknown male suspects entered the building.  The victim set the phone down as he was confronted by the suspects, allowing the person on the other end of the line to hear what was going on.  As the suspects began binding the victim with duct tape the victim’s friend (on the phone) called 911.

As officers arrived on scene the victim was able to escape and ran out the front door of the building to the safety of officers.  Two of the three suspects then exited the building and were taken into custody.  Officers saw a third suspect emerge who retreated back inside the building.  Officers subsequently surrounded the building and attempted to get the suspect to come out.  Officers received information that led them to believe the third suspect was armed with a gun.

The SWAT team and negotiators were called to the scene.  They made several attempts to get the suspect to come out and surrender peacefully.  The SWAT team used distraction devices and a chemical irritant to get the suspect to come out which were unsuccessful.  The front door of the building was locked, therefore a SWAT vehicle was used to breach the door in order to allow the robot to enter and survey the building.  The SWAT team entered the building and located the suspect hiding in the ceiling.  He was taken into custody without further incident.

All suspects are now believed to be in custody.

Fire department medics were called to the scene and treated the victim for non-life-threatening injuries he sustained during the robbery.

The victim indicated that the facility was a learning center to study marijuana production.  Marijuana-growing learning centers are not legal according to state law.  

Robbery detectives responded to the scene and are handling the active and on-going investigation.