Home invasion linked to pot
A 37-year-old man was seriously injured when two men allegedly broke into a house outside Cedar Ridge late Monday night and attacked two other men with a wooden baseball bat that had long metal bolts driven into the end.
The home invasion on the 11000 block of Rohaje Lane may have been an attempted robbery of marijuana, though investigators have not yet established a motive, Nevada County sheriff’s Lt. Bill Evans said. Police found about 22 pot plants at the house, he said.
Marvin Buckingham, 37, was transported by helicopter to Sutter Roseville Medical Center with serious injuries after he was struck in the head with the altered baseball bat, Evans said. The mace broke during the fight, he said.
Buckingham remained in serious condition Tuesday afternoon, hospital spokeswoman Robin Montgomery said.
The other occupant, Michael Stein, 47, had an abrasion on his face and was not taken to the hospital, Evans said.
“If you’re minding your own business, sitting at home manicuring your pot plants, you might want to lock your door,” Nevada County sheriff’s Capt. Ron Smith said. “This is the risk you take.”
Violent marijuana robberies are happening all over California this harvest season, said Drug Enforcement Administration Special Agent Gordon Taylor in Sacramento.
“The use is bad enough,” he said, “but all the activity associated with marijuana cultivation creates a dangerous environment.”
In the incident outside Cedar Ridge, the suspects broke into the home shortly before midnight, according to sheriff’s logs. They did not knock or announce themselves, Evans said, but barged in and started swinging the mace.
After a brief struggle in the living room, one of the victims yelled that he had a gun, authorities said.
“That was quick thinking on his part,” Smith said.
Both suspects got scared and ran without taking any marijuana, Evans said. The victim did not actually have a gun, he said.
One of the victims called 911 at 11:54 p.m. and told a dispatcher the attackers were wearing jeans and flannel shirts and were in a white truck. The suspects were not wearing masks, Evans said.
Sheriff’s deputies responded and stopped a white Ford truck with two male occupants on Rattlesnake Road at Dog Bar Road at 12:19 a.m.
Investigators drove Stein by the vehicle to identify the men, but he said he did not recognize them, Evans said.
Deputies arrested the men, Mike Console, 23, and Timothy Connor, 47, on suspicion of transporting a controlled substance for sale. Marijuana and heroin were found in the truck, Evans said.
Console was booked into jail without bail because he is in violation of his probation, according to jail staff.
Connor’s bail was set at $35,000, jail staff reported.
Console has been arrested for drug possession in the past, Evans said.
Six marijuana plants were located outside of the home, and 16 smaller plants were inside along with “a bunch” drying inside, Evans said.
The victims will not be charged with marijuana cultivation, because three doctor’s recommendations of medical marijuana were located at the residence, Evans said.
Investigators do not want to attribute the invasion solely to attempted marijuana theft, Evans said, because there may be more to the story.
“This one’s a little strange,” Evans said. “I don’t think we know the whole story.”
One of the victims told police that the owner of the home – who was not present at the time of the attack – was recently threatened for an unknown reason, he said.
“Someone said they were going to break (the homeowner’s) legs,” Evans said.
Sheriff’s investigators say the recent string of similar attempted robberies are not linked, Smith said. They suspect different attackers are involved in each incident, while the home invasions are not random, but targeted, perhaps by people who know the victims.
“This is high risk, high gain to these (intruders),” Smith said. “They’re probably going to let you do all the work, then take (the marijuana) after you pick off all the buds.”
People who do not cultivate marijuana shouldn’t worry about getting targeted by these types of violent intruders, Smith said.
“It’s not your regular citizens who are getting their doors kicked in,” Smith said. “It’s just the guys involved in marijuana enterprise.”
To contact Staff Writer Robyn Moormeister, e-mail email@example.com or call 477-4236.
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