MLPD seeks suspects in dispensary burglary

The Mammoth Lakes Police Department is seeking the community’s assistance in identifying the suspects involved in an early morning burglary at the Mammoth Lakes Wellness Marijuana Dispensary.

459 suspect face MLW

At about 4:00 A.M. on Monday March 9th, Mammoth Lakes Police officers were advised of a burglary that had just occurred at the dispensary. Prior to officers’ arrival, a female employee drove to the business to turn off the alarm. Upon arrival, she noticed broken glass at the front entrance and called the owner.

As the employee stood near the front entrance, a suspect exited from the business through a hole in the glass. The employee turned and ran toward her car, with the suspect giving chase. The employee made it into her car and shut the door. The suspect began punching her car window while yelling verbal threats at her. The employee was able to drive away and was unhurt. She last saw the suspect running southbound toward Center Street and the Shady Rest forest.

459 suspect parking lotUpon reviewing the security videos and interviewing the employee, Mammoth Lakes Police officers have concluded there are at least two suspects. They were also able to identify at least one suspect vehicle, seen casing the business. The dispensary operator is cooperating with investigating officers and working with the Mammoth Lakes Police Department to bring these suspects to justice.

The suspects were able to use a fire extinguisher to break the windows for access to the lobby area, but were unable to access the rest of the business.

459 vehicle

The suspects attempted to conceal their identities; however officers were able to get footage of their faces. One of the suspects was described as a male, 5’7”-5’9”, thin build, blue or light colored hooded sweatshirt, white mask or towel covering his upper body, blue or green eyes. One suspect was wearing a ‘Bulls’ cap.

Officers are looking for a dark SUV with a spare tire, similar to a Jeep Liberty.

Anyone with information on this crime is asked to contact the Mammoth Lakes Police Department. You may contact the police station at (760) 934-2011, the Tip Line at (760) 934-3261, via e-mail or the Mammoth Lakes Police Department Facebook page where you can view several photos and a short video clip. You may remain anonymous.

459 vehicle

For further information call MLPD Sergeant Marc Moscowitz at 760 934-2011.

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52 Responses to MLPD seeks suspects in dispensary burglary

  1. Mtn Man March 14, 2015 at 11:36 am #

    “Meth is one hell of a drug”

  2. DESCO March 13, 2015 at 5:33 pm #

    @ pissed

    Many, many years ago, when I lived in Simi Valley, a story in the paper, no internet then, mentioned that Simi had no night time police force. Shortly there after car loads of gangs, from the then hell holes of Watts and South Central, started arriving in town after 2 AM, on the newly constructed freeway, with shopping lists of cars to steal.
    It took awhile but eventually Simi got cops at night. But, they had the tax base and an intelligent city management. Mammoth would rather build bike paths and other fantasy projects than provide protection for it’s citizens.

    • Big Rick O'Brien March 14, 2015 at 7:50 pm #

      That scenario would never fly nowadays…HALF of the LAPD live in Simi Valley now.

  3. Pissed March 13, 2015 at 11:07 am #

    Will you please quit advertising the best times to commit a crime

    The drugees might catch on

  4. Badfinger39 March 13, 2015 at 7:33 am #

    When are we gonna get our own Dispensary in Lone Pine?

    • Low-Inyo March 14, 2015 at 7:23 am #

      Badfinger39:.I still don’t understand some clamouring for some type of dispensary in any of these little towns in Inyo County.For those that choose to indulge in the herb,as long as they’re not really stupid about getting it and doing it,there isn’t a sole in any town in America that can’t make a purchase the way things are right now with a phone call,a short drive,or in most cases a short walk from the front door of their home.

  5. Trouble March 13, 2015 at 6:08 am #

    Hi Chief Watson, I’d like to hear your opinion on Mammoth using volunteer police to possibly cover those hours? Thank you.

    • Dan Watson March 13, 2015 at 10:59 am #

      Volunteer police are Reserve Officers. MLPD has a small number and they have different levels of authority. They are a valuable resource and supplement regular officers. They are used during to cover when regular officers aren’t available and to supplement staffing during peak hours. Reserve Officers should be deployed when they are most needed, just like regular officers, and there aren’t enough of either to operate 24 hours a day. It would not be prudent to use volunteers who are not Reserve Officers because they don’t have the appropriate level of training or peace officer status.

      In response to Tourbillon’s comment that MLPD takes the largest part of the budget, that is typically the case in California cities, but no longer in Mammoth. Police Departments often have the most employees of all the departments and are the most costly. Once all the positions were cut from the MLPD, it no longer had the largest portion of the budget. That is now Public Works. For cities that have both a police and fire department, it’s not unusual for those to public safety departments to account for more than 50% of the General Fund budget.

    • Low-Inyo March 13, 2015 at 1:22 pm #

      Trouble…..That can be a slippery-slope.I lived in a small town that tried that,and seemed it caused more problems than what it was worth.Like Chief Watson stated,Officers do respond to alarm calls,only they must do it from their homes and not while on patrol and on-duty at the time.In the town I lived in,some of the “volunteer”officers stepped way over their boundries.Some didn’t see themselves as a way to patrol and report to real officers,but a way to enforce laws and even attempt to pull citizens over in their unmarked personal vehicles without lights and sirens.In fact,what did the program in was a volunteer (citizen)following a driver for a distance and when the driver stopped at his home,the volunteer confronted the man in a way he shouldn’t have about a traffic violation he apparently observed.Not what the program was intended to be.Kind of like that “mall cop” on you-tube that threatened to arrest and confiscate a camera from someone taking photos with a smart phone.The last thing Mammoth Lakes,or any town,for that matter, is some hot-head citizen thinking he’s some type of authority late-night playing policeman.

      • sugar magnolia March 16, 2015 at 7:40 am #

        yeah, like George Zimmerman!

        • Low-Inyo March 16, 2015 at 12:56 pm #

          Sugar Magnolia:…George Zimmerman is the PERFECT example !!.Some cop wanna-be,self-appointed “authority” thinking just cause he might know a few real cops,and no one might be around to witness his actions towards another he might not like in “his” neighborhood he can do as he pleases,then cry “self-defense”.Maybe works sometimes,like it ended up doing with him,but in other cases not so much.After all,this is California,not Florida,where it seems most can get away with murder.

    • erik simpson March 13, 2015 at 1:57 pm #

      The thought of Trouble as a volunteer policeman is, well… Troubling.

      • Trouble March 13, 2015 at 8:30 pm #

        Erik,I never said i wanted to be a peace officer. Take away our countries bull…. war on drugs and I might reconsider. Besides I think i’m capable of defending myself. If I was in the law field it would most likely be on the defensive side.
        Thanks for responding Chief Watson!

        • Charles O. Jones March 14, 2015 at 9:38 am #

          I guess jokes just aren’t as funny when you’re not the one telling them, Trouble.

          • Trouble March 14, 2015 at 1:55 pm #

            Charles, are you the new hall monitor?

          • Charles O. Jones March 15, 2015 at 6:18 am #

            I’m just a baseball fan and I like to “call ’em as I see ’em”

          • Trouble March 15, 2015 at 10:09 am #

            Fan or Umpire? Either way, your not supposed to eat off your own plate!

  6. BIG Rick O'Brien March 12, 2015 at 6:56 pm #

    If females (or anyone for that matter) are going to respond to alarm calls when there is no PD presence, the new Chief should be issuing some CCW permits, RIGHT ?

  7. The Aggressive Progressive March 12, 2015 at 3:52 pm #

    Do you know what we REALLY need? as a country and a individual? EDUCATION! And how much does recreational Marijuana taxes in Colorado give to public education/future generations? Maybe you should educate yourself on that!

    You know it is mostly the under-educated who do this type of activity in the story.

  8. Milky March 12, 2015 at 5:19 am #

    It brings a new meaning to the phrase “casing the joint.” They call it dope for a reason. Duh! Nice disguise. Is that bevus and buthead!

  9. Humble Opinion March 11, 2015 at 8:15 pm #

    I recently found an interesting website, This website gives 2013 salary data, which included Mammoth Lakes PD. I don’t live in Mammoth, but I hope the PD is making sure their employees are protecting and serving because they are making a lot of money. Officer Lehr – $228,470.63 (Total Pay & Benefits), Sergeant Moscowitz $216,942.89, Sergeant Huggleman $213,942.89, Officer Moberly $184,386.96, Officer Smalley $179,379.96. These are just a few examples, and I don’t know the accuracy of the data. However, officers getting paid this much should be responding to alarms, not unarmed employees (male or female). But this is just the opinion of someone that makes less than $80,000 per year.

    • Dan Watson March 12, 2015 at 9:20 am #

      Officers do respond to alarm calls in the middle of night, Humble Opinion, but from home because no one is on duty. That’s because when the Town Council at the time had to figure out how to make the $2 million a year payment for the MLLA lawsuit settlement, they decided to take the majority of it out of the Police Department budget. Since personnel costs are always the largest percentage of a police department’s budget, the only way to accomplish this was to eliminate positions. The Police Department went from 17 sworn officers to 10 (now 11), and that’s not enough people to provide 24/7 coverage. After careful consideration, it was decided to not staff anyone from 3 am to 7 am. The Council agreed to an on-call system where two officers or sergeants are on-call each morning during those hours and available to respond to high priority incidents such as this one. The majority of officers live in Mammoth or Crowley Lake. It is my hope that as revenues increase, the Police Department will be restored to levels allowing for 24 hour coverage. The Town Manager and current Council are all aware of the need and have a desire to do so.

      • Tourbillon March 12, 2015 at 6:46 pm #

        “they decided to take the majority of it out of the Police Department budget”. Of course they did – MLPD is by far the largest budget line item for TOML. No one else gets nearly as much TOML money as MLPD.

    • sean March 12, 2015 at 9:55 am #

      Humble – I think MLPD is so low on officers that they had to work overtime just to keep officers on on-duty during the regular shifts and handle normal calls for service. This is the irony of CITY MANAGERS cutting the Police Department. They THINK they are saving money but in the end spend just as much because they have to pay the remaining Officers more overtime to just get the basic work done a police department is required to complete. So the end result is no officers at night, Officers working maybe too much overtime, and not as much savings as the CITY MANAGERS thought they would get by cutting the police department back so hard in the first place. So the end result is a higher cost per man-hour worked.

      Officers should be the first responders to alarm calls and they will tell you that. Especially alarms at night when most real break-ins occur. But it is the CITY MANAGERS that control the police budgets.

      Also – If you want that job and those types of pay levels why don’t you apply for the job? No one is stopping you.

    • Charles O. Jones March 12, 2015 at 1:44 pm #

      I’m familiar with that link and I believe the numbers are accurate. But keep in mind that these numbers do not represent salary alone, they are total compensation. Total comp encompasses everything from salary to overtime to healthcare to retirement to sick leave to vacation time to worker’s comp etc. etc. Numbers from this source are often misinterpreted to represent just salary. It’s safe to say that MLPD’s actual paychecks don’t look anything like the numbers from that link.

  10. High Water March 11, 2015 at 2:52 pm #

    Please Google prison industry complex.

    Please Google where is my original BIRTH CERTIFICATE.

    Please Google spoonfedtruth.

    I’m waking up and you should too.

  11. High Water March 11, 2015 at 2:28 pm #

    The law only applies to us! The avg Joe
    the ‘The war on drugs’ is a joke and y ‘all know it.
    The real criminals are in Washington D.C. they can break any law they want and laugh in our face.

    We need to come together and put the real crooks away. But you folks are ok with a drug if it comes with a prescription. How many of our children are tweakers! I mean Ritalin. diagnosed with (ADD)

    WAKE UP! Our govt. Doesn’t care about us!

  12. Trouble March 11, 2015 at 12:21 pm #

    Why didn’t the police respond to the alarm?

    • sean March 11, 2015 at 5:57 pm #

      Trouble – I don’t think there are any MLPD Officers on duty from 3 am to 7 am. Someone correct me if I am wrong about that. Total BS if you ask me. Town council and the city manager need to fix that. It is only a matter of time before someone gets hurt because Sheriff’s Deputy or CHP had to respond from Bridgeport at 5 am.

      • Charles O. Jones March 12, 2015 at 11:09 am #

        Amen Sean.
        I hope it doesn’t take a tragedy for the town council to wake up and give the cops the funding they need for 24/7 staffing.

    • Sierra Lady March 11, 2015 at 8:34 pm #

      @ Trouble, because she (the employee responding to the alarm) never called the police (that mistake could have cost her life!). Plus the MLPD don’t have any officers on from 3-7 a.m. due to the Town Council’s budget cuts and thieves know this.

      B. Richter

      • Low-Inyo March 12, 2015 at 6:35 am #

        ..Wonder why the female employee is the one to respond and turn off the alarm ?…Why not the manager and/or owner of the place.I know in the bigger cities and towns,L.A.,Sacramento,etc,many of the owners have a conceal-carry permit knowing this type of thing is kinda bound to happen, and have to be wary if you show up at the place if the burglar alarm is setting off at 4 A.M and there’s broken glass at the front door entrance,especially if you know there is no Law Enforcement either already there or on the way.If an employee is also a “first responder” to a burglary,they have to be ready to deal with a problem.This female employee is lucky and fortunate she was able to get out of the situation.

  13. ovlove March 11, 2015 at 10:41 am #

    WAKE UP PEOPLE! Prohibition is not the answer and has proven to be counteractive. The war on drugs has failed miserably. Illicit drug use and availability has continued to increase, despite the millions of dollars the goverment spends each year to eliminate it. Illicit drugs are cheaper now than ever before. Racial discrimination and violent crimes are on the rise. The US is now the number one incarcerater in the world, even though 90% of drug users are not considered problematic. The more people behind bars causes more broken homes with absent parents. Children who come from broken homes are far more likely to disregard authority and or use drugs and commit crimes. The goverment spends on average 30,000 a year to incarcerate an inmate, while they spend an average of 11,000 per student in public schools. The prohibition of alcohol did not prevent drunkenness. Not everyone chooses to consume alcohol because it is legal. Drug laws do not prevent drug use, infact they contribute to the problem.

  14. ovlove March 11, 2015 at 8:41 am #

    A thief is a thief. No need to turn this into something that it is not. Marijuana laws have nothing to do burglary. They are two seperate issues. Since when do criminals take any laws into consideration? THEY ARE STEALING! STEALING IS AGAINST THE LAW!

  15. Father O'twogirls March 11, 2015 at 4:38 am #

    They just wanted to get “WELL”

    • Rosie March 11, 2015 at 9:42 am #

      If they just wanted to get well, I wish they could do it in jail! What if they had hurt that employee . that’s tacky. I don’t care if they just want to smoke a little, but NOT that way.It appears that they are just thugs any way.

  16. johnjcampnfish March 11, 2015 at 4:04 am #

    I guess we’ll have to rethink this idea that legalizing drugs will reduce crime.

    • Trouble March 12, 2015 at 6:11 am #

      We have almost no real drug related crime in the Sierra. It’s about the money. Any fool can find drugs at will in any town without stealing them. We are lucky up here that are police do a great job of keeping the gangs out of our schools and neighbor hoods. Legalizing pot is a great step in the right direction. Over half our country has tried pot, you can’t lock up everyone.

      • Desert Tortoise March 13, 2015 at 8:52 pm #

        Seems there is a pretty steady drum beat of local drug crimes in the eastern Sierra/Owens Valley. We read about it here every week and most of it is with locals, not out of towners passing through.

  17. Eastside Bum March 10, 2015 at 9:59 pm #

    An illegal drug by federal law, a drug still controlled by state law, and considered an illicit drug by many in America. Is it any wonder crime follows this industry like a dust storm on a windy day?

    • The Aggressive Progressive March 12, 2015 at 7:47 am #

      Actually… the crime really followed once these substances became criminalized, and to keep criminalization in place should be a crime on humanity after realizing how it paralyzes real productivity for the people..

      I mean we can’t just forget about all the propaganda the generations in the past 80 years have been force fed and regurgitated and force fed and regurgitated and so on and so forth….

      Burglary is one thing, but terrorizing the public is another…

  18. Sean March 10, 2015 at 8:43 pm #

    Stealing weed is one thing (almost expect the place to get hit) but chasing and threatening the employee is a whole different level of crook. What would have happened if they caught her? Would they have harmed her? Raped her? Murdered her because she was a witness?

    I would like to know if any Mammoth cops were on-duty or are we still in the position that we can’t afford to have 24 hr MLPD coverage here in town?

    • Tourbillon March 13, 2015 at 5:50 am #

      Taxpayer-funded security at 4 A.M. for pot dealerships is not the most compelling use of our wages. If you run a business such as marijuana peddling that by its nature attracts a disproportionately large criminal element, you should have the responsibility to supplement taxpayer protection with your own private security, the costs of which you pass on to your users.

      • Charles O. Jones March 13, 2015 at 8:22 am #

        If you take ML’s 8200+ residents and add to that the estimated 2.8 million visitors each year, you have an average daily population in excess of 15,000. Can you provide us with a list of cities that have a population in excess of 15,000 and no police officers on duty?

        • Desert Tortoise March 13, 2015 at 8:50 pm #

          Visitors do not pay property taxes like residents do to fund a municipal government. Try raising hotel taxes and taxes on other tourist services to compensate for the demand they place on municipal services and see how that goes over. I could almost write the remarks that would be posted here under an article about a new hotel or ski lift tax to fund the PD.

          • Charles O. Jones March 14, 2015 at 7:12 am #

            Propertty taxes alone do not provide adequate funding for ML’s basic services – not even close.

            According to the town’s General Fund budget documents, Transient Occupnacy Tax (TOT) accounts for over 50% of the town’s revenues followed by property taxes which represent roughly 20%. The third highest percentage is sales tax at 10%. Add to that the new TBID taxes and the visitors are clearly paying their own way for services. ML is a tourism based economy. Take away the visitors and many services would be drastically reduced or cease to exist entirely.

      • sugar magnolia March 16, 2015 at 7:33 am #

        Tourbillion – Holy crap, what crazy logic you employ. Medicinal marijuana is legal, so tell me again what ‘criminal element’ they are attracting? They are a legitimate business, operating under the law and deserve the same protections as any other business.

        How about banks, and their butt loads of cash….sporting good stores that sell guns…talk about something that attracts the criminal element…guns have no equal in that regard.

        Also, note that the burglars were not able to penetrate the inner office and access any of the goods. Not too many other businesses (banks excluded) do that much self protection.

        I say they’ve been a value to our community with little down side. Not sure where your coming from, other than an apparent lack of logic and an obvious bias

  19. Trouble March 10, 2015 at 6:31 pm #

    Cheech and Chong strike again!

    • Sean March 11, 2015 at 10:43 am #

      Cheech and Chong didn’t chase women through parking lots at 4 am and threaten them. We would be making jokes if she had been harmed. Luckily she had the skills to get away. You wouldn’t be making jokes if that was your daughter, sister, or wife. Lets find these guys. Someone knows something…

      • Trouble March 11, 2015 at 12:17 pm #

        Wow Sean, sure glad your not on my jury. It was just a joke.

        • Desert Tortoise March 12, 2015 at 6:41 am #

          You are the joke Trouble. When are you going to finally grow up and act like an adult?

    • Tinner March 12, 2015 at 7:50 am #

      More like Beavis and Butthead and Beavis’ alter ego “The Great Cornhilio.”
      These guys are complete morons, MLPD will have them apprehended by the end of the week.


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