Pot farmer gets burgled, cameras catch culprit

PROSSER, Wash. -- Criminals going after drug stashes is nothing new, but what about when they steal from state-licensed pot growers?

Law enforcement warned this could happen now that recreational pot is legal and it has. One of our areas first growers was just recently targeted.

Farmer Randy Williams' Prosser grow operation became the first state-licensed pot producer in Benton County to be burglarized. Security footage shows the brazen criminal hop the fence and then make off with one of Randy's plants.
Sure, he took just one, but that single plant is worth more than a thousand dollars. Randy was glad he had invested in good security cameras.

"You can identify identify somebody pretty fast and so with that, the police were at his house within two hours with a warrant for his arrest," he says.

Police got their man, but it's cases like this that had neighbors concerned when they heard a pot farm was going in. Rita Smith was worried when we spoke to her back in April.

"There are people in the world who might not want to purchase this legally and so they will try to do it illegally," she said.

She didn't want Randy's farm to attract criminals to the neighborhood.
Yet the Benton County Sheriff's Department only has six reports from the last year, of marijuana being stolen on county land. Deputies still say, legal or not, those involved with marijuana will have a bulls-eye on their backs.

"The people that are growing it, be it in their home or out in a field, they're going to have problems with thefts," says Benton County Sheriff Lieutenant Chuck Jones.

It's why Randy is beefing up security even more. Randy thinks his theft actually was good for the community in the end.

"This was a career criminal that jumped over my fence and he's in custody now, so the neighborhood is safer. We got him off the streets," he says.

Not all might agree, but it's case closed this time.

Randy Williams offered a reward for the capture of the guy who stole the plant. The thief's brother led Sheriff's Deputies to his house.