Suspect in robbery released from jail |

Suspect in robbery released from jail

A 20-year-old man arrested in connection with an armed robbery at an alleged “dope house” in the Alta Sierra area was released from jail Monday morning, and the charges against him were dropped, sheriff’s officials said.

Larken Bauers of North San Juan is suspected of involvement in a violent robbery for marijuana, which sent three people to the hospital with injuries, investigators said.

“(Bauers) was arrested on circumstantial stuff, and we want to make sure we have something a little stronger,” County Sheriff’s Lt. Bill Evans said.

Deputies arrested Bauers Sunday on suspicion of armed robbery and conspiracy after a caller reported Bauers, a “suspicious person on drugs,” was lying in the middle of Pekolee Drive.

When deputies located Bauers, he smelled of marijuana and was wearing clothing similar to the description of the robbers’ clothing with a red substance on his shoes that looked like blood, Evans said.

“At the time (Bauers) was arrested, he had no explanation of where he had come from,” Evans said.

Bauers denies any involvement in the botched robbery.

“I was having a good time at a party at my friend’s house, and I was pretty drunk,” Bauers said.

He got into an argument with someone who wanted him to go to sleep, so he began to walk home to North San Juan, he said.

He became lost and passed out in the roadway, he said. The next thing he knew, deputies were arresting him.

“I got booked, and I asked (police) why they weren’t letting me go. I thought I was in (jail) for being drunk. They said they were charging me for armed robbery and conspiracy and I started tripping out.”

Bauers said he smelled of marijuana because he had some inside his backpack. He said he didn’t know whether he had blood on his shoes.

“If it was blood, it must have been mine,” he said.

Results from a DNA test of the substance on Bauers’ shoes will tell investigators more, Evans said.

The DNA test results will not be available for several weeks, Evans said.

Earlier Sunday at about 4:10 a.m., five masked people armed with a baseball bat, crowbars and two guns broke into a home on the 20000 block of Woodbury Drive looking for money and marijuana, according to the sheriff’s office.

Seven men and one woman occupying the home had their hands tied behind their backs with plastic zip-ties during the robbery, Evans said.

Three men tried to fight back and were beaten severely enough to be sent to the hospital with injuries, he said.

At one point, the wrists of one victim were freed by an attacker to tend to another victim, who was bleeding profusely, he said.

The suspects fled when deputies arrived, investigators said.

One beaten victim remained in the hospital Monday, while the other two victims were released from the hospital Sunday night, Evans said.

“A couple more (men) were smacked around, and they were looked at by paramedics at the scene,” he said. The woman was not beaten, he added.

Investigators found 236 living plants inside and outside of the home, along with 88 cut plants inside and near a van and more pot drying inside, Evans said.

“It was a pretty big operation,” he said. “It had the appearance of what (police) refer to as a dope house. People buy houses for the purpose of growing and processing marijuana.”

Two doctor’s recommendations for marijuana were found at the scene, he said.

Investigators have not yet determined whether any of the home’s occupants would be charged with marijuana cultivation, Evans said.

A Bay Area man who owns the house, but was not present at the time of Sunday’s attack, was being interviewed by investigators Monday, he said.

No other arrests have been made in connection with the armed robbery, sheriff’s officials said Monday.

Investigators are still searching for James Becket, a man they believe was at the home at the time of the incident, Evans said. Police still do not know the nature of Becket’s involvement, he said.

Deputies are also looking for a man who rented the marijuana-filled van found at the scene, Evans said. The man is from the Bay Area, he said. The robbers were in the process of loading the van when deputies arrived, he said.

In other news, deputies are investigating the cause of a Sept. 29 shoot-out at a home on Tyler Foote Crossing Road that left John Shelton of Linda dead and resident Dusty Bates wounded.

Bates told dispatchers he was being robbed for his pot, but investigators are looking into other motives. There were nine pot plants at the scene.

“We’re working on several theories,” Evans said. “It could have been a marijuana rip-off, it could have been personal, and another theory is that it was a case of mistaken identity.”

Investigators have interviewed several of Shelton’s associates, Evans said, but no arrests have been made in connection with that shooting.


To contact Staff Writer Robyn Moormeister, e-mail robynm@the or call 477-4236.

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