DENVER– The Denver Police Department now believes the same four suspects are responsible for robbing six metro Denver dispensaries, at gunpoint, over the last several months.
Frosted Leaf has several locations in Denver. The dispensary, off of Harrison Street, was robbed in early December just as employees were getting ready to close for the night.
“It sent shock waves through the whole company,” said Frosted Leaf’s general Counsel, John Goutell.
Goutell gave FOX31 and exclusive look at the surveillance footage, where two employees were held up and gunpoint while four suspects robbed the dispensary.
Fortunately, no one was injured.
“They really look like they’ve had some training. This wasn’t a bunch of guys who just decided to go rob the store,” said Goutell, going back through the surveillance video.
They’re one of at least six dispensaries police believe were targeted by the same four suspects.
“We’ve taken some additional measures, planted some surprises—if you will—for folks if they try that again. And from what I’m hearing, most of our competitors have done the same thing,” said Goutell.
Peak Dispensary is one of them.
“We’ve experienced a couple of near break-ins over the last couple of months,” said owner Justin Henderson.
“A couple of guys came to the back door with crow bars about a month and half ago—they were unsuccessful. About a week later, we had someone try and back in a vehicle and take out the back door,” he added.
Henderson says they have heightened their security at Peak Dispensary in response to the break-ins, and armed robberies.
“I think the biggest deterrent for criminals is knowing there’s no money here, if we had banking. I think the majority of our customers would rather use their credit card,” said Henderson.
The cannabis industry had hoped that would change.
The SAFE Banking Act – coauthored in the House by Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D) and cosponsored in the Senate by Sen. Cory Gardner (R) – would openly allow banking and financial institutions to work with dispensaries, passed in the U.S. House this past September.
But, the bill stalled out in the U.S. Senate in December.
“It’s currently federally illegal to bank. So there are some credit unions and some state banks that are willing to consider it—but generally, it’s still frowned upon,” said Henderson.
“I have empathy for the state leaders here, because their hands are—to some degree—tied because they can only do so much. Until the folks in Washington can change the law, I don’t think big changes are in store,” said Goutell.
“Money from a legal marijuana store in Colorado is just like money from a cocaine ring, when you’re looking at it from a federal lens—so the banks can’t touch it,” he added.
Until they can, some dispensary owners remain concerned they will be the next target.
“The groups that are targeting us seem to be a lot more professional these days,” said Henderson.
Our partners, Metro Denver Crime Stoppers, are offering up to a $2,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of the suspect(s).