dispensary robberies in New England
dispensary robberies in New England

Putting an End to Dispensary Robberies - New England Law Enforcement Steps Up in Multi-State Sting Operation

Dispensaries are the new banks for robbers, but law enforcement steps up in New England

Posted by:
BostonBakedPete on Wednesday Apr 6, 2022

dispensary robberies New England

At least three people are suspected of being the brains and hands behind the series of thefts in New England. Some months ago, reports about a couple of medical cannabis stores in the northeastern region of the United States being robbed came to light. States in the New England region have recorded at least two thefts targeted at medical cannabis facilities.

The string of burglaries has finally been traced to three suspects in Massachusetts. This means that this trio worked across Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts. The first robbery in this region was reported in 2020, and it has taken law enforcement more than a year to fish out these suspects.


The Suspects

The Portland Press Herald reported that the suspects were trailed to Massachusetts. The team comprises two Boston brothers and a third man based in New Bedford, Massachusetts. Law enforcement agencies claim that these three are responsible for the different burglaries of legal cannabis stores across New England since 2020.

The police first got a tip that connected all the crimes in October 2021. This was soon after another robbery incident at a cannabis growing facility in Gorham, Maine.

The agents got access to a caper that showed the trio wearing full facemasks, long sleeves, and hats. The three individuals made their way into the facility through an external wall close to an industrial park. It also showed that there was a fourth individual positioned outside the facility to keep watch.

As soon as the suspects made their way into the building, they carefully inspected all the rooms in the facility while trying their best not to be detected by the motion sensors by the doorways. The thrives finally left the facility about two hours later and made their way home with over 25 pounds of cannabis. They also stole more than 450 THC Vape Cartridges.


Year-long Investigations

The Gorham theft yielded the first clue in the right direction. The police officers immediately went to work by reviewing the footage obtained from the security cameras onsite. One of the cameras outside the facility captured footage of the pickup truck used by these suspects. The vehicle had a Massachusetts license plate, and it made its way into the facility's parking lot almost three hours before the suspects cautiously made their way inside.

One of the cameras' microphones inside the building was able to record an interaction between the burglars. In this recording, one of the burglars was asking for someone named "Dario." The other burglar then replied that Dario was outside putting some trunks in the pickup truck. From this recording, it shows that Dario is one of the burglars living in Massachusetts (based on the location written on the license plates).


Further investigations into the case

Dario's name and the license plates were enough for the law enforcement to work with. The officers used this to figure out Dario's last name, Almeida. Dario Almeida is a 21-year-old Massachusetts resident based in the New Bedford area.

Stephen Hinkley, Gorham's police detective in charge of the case, contacted the New Bedford police department to get Dario's contact details. This was promptly given as Dario Almeida was a recent offender in the department. A little less than a week later, the Almeida brothers were contacted by the New Bedford police department via email. They were informed of their suspected involvement in burglaries across New England.

Mass Live reported that the brothers are initially from South Boston, while the third offender is a member of the New Bedford community. Thanks to other cameras within and outside the burgled cannabis facilities, the same pickup truck was captured in the recorded videos. Dario and his brother, Rafael, have been linked to the burglary of a cannabis-growing facility in Warwick, Rhode Island.

Stephen Hinkley went to New England law enforcement agencies to inquire about similar burglaries. The records of these agencies pointed out seven similar robberies that were pulled off in Maine alone in the last nine months. Further probing revealed that another cannabis business in Gorham was burglarized in 2020 on Thanksgiving night precisely. The robbers cut through the external wall to access the facility. There are also reports of burglars gaining access to cannabis stores in South Portland. The police department finally got a search warrant from a Portland, Maine, judge. They used this to search for evidence using location data obtained from the suspects' fallen phones on each day the burglaries took place.


No arrests yet

The police are yet to detain the suspects because the investigations are yet to be concluded. In recent weeks, reporters have contacted police departments across New England for their comments on the burglaries. However, the South Portland and Warwick police spokespersons refused to give any. Christopher Sanborn, the chief of the Gorham Police Department, also declined to comment on the string of robberies. Chief Sanborn told reporters that the investigation is still ongoing and that no comment could be made at this critical juncture.

David Heidrich, a spokesman for Maine's cannabis regulatory agency, beckoned on all licensed cannabis businesses to file a report of thefts, burglaries, and other forms of crimes committed at their facilities. He pointed out that the process of filing these reports is straightforward. He also assured the business owners that all accounts are received in confidence by the police department. The regulatory agency has no right to analyze any of the information received. He further clarified that the regulatory agency is only tasked with the duty of licensing businesses and ensuring all registrants are compliant with the state's medical and recreational cannabis laws.


Final Note

Thefts and burglaries are major offenses in New England. And all suspects found guilty will always face the consequences for their actions. As soon as the investigations are completed, and the suspects are arrested, The law will be allowed to run its course. In all of this, it's important to note that if the cannabis industry were serviced by traditional financial institutions in the region and country, the businesses wouldn't be targeted as much by robbers.



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