Grow rips increasing in frequency: RCMP

There have been 10 home invasions related to marijuana grow rips over the past three months in Mission.

These crimes are usually reported by neighbours who believe a break-in is happening, or by victims shaken up by the incident, said Sgt. Miriam Dickson, noting growers with as few as eight marijuana plants have been targeted.

The thieves usually kick the door in, and once inside produce weapons, like knives, guns, sledgehammers or crowbars, and demand cash and the plants, explained Dickson, who suspects many of these crimes are not reported because the victim would also be caught in an illegal activity and charged.

On March 21 a man  phoned police and claimed he and a friend were doing a grow rip at Cedar Street and Dewdney Trunk Road, but ended up being taken hostage. The man told police he escaped, but his friend was still captive in the house. He provided RCMP with a cell phone number but no name.

It was a disposable phone and couldn’t be traced, said Dickson.

When police arrived at the home, they found a grow op, but no evidence of anyone captive.

Two men and one woman, believed to be residents of the home, were arrested, and police returned later in the day with a warrant to seize the 400 plants.

A day later, an anonymous caller reported a door being kicked in at a home in the 32100 block of Eagle Terrace. Police found eight marijuana plants inside.

Other incidents occurred as early as Jan. 8 in the 7700 block of Grand Street where a door was left open and 400 plants were located. A couple of days later, 440 plants were discovered in the 33000 block of Cherry Avenue and 647 plants were seized from a home on Lapwing Crescent.

Wrong houses have also been attacked, such as the incident on Feb. 28 when five suspects wearing balaclavas and face masks forced their way into a home in the 29700 block of the Lougheed Highway demanding the plants. A man and his two young children were home at the time, but were not injured and the suspects left after realizing the house didn’t contain what they wanted.

So far nobody has been injured, but ultimately these actions are endangering the public when the wrong house is targeted, said Dickson, who is encouraging the public to report any suspected grow operations to police by calling 604-826-7161.