FARMINGTON — About 750 of the 1,000 marijuana plants police had seized as evidence and had stored in a locked building was discovered stolen Wednesday morning.
Police say sometime after 10:30 p.m. and before 9:30 a.m. Wednesday, one of the overhead doors at a garage the Farmington Police Department uses for storage at the intersection of High Street and Farmington Falls Road was pried open and an estimated three-quarters or 750 of the 1,000 marijuana plants were stolen said Farmington Police Chief Jack Peck.
The pot plants were pulled and confiscated reportedly from fields in Phillips and Township 6 by agents from the Maine Drug Enforcement Agency on Tuesday. Two men, Tad Smith, 35, and his father Joesph Smith, 62, were arrested on marijuana cultivation charges. They have since been released from jail on $500 cash bail.
The MDEA got the OK from Peck to store the pot plants overnight in the locked garage, which is traditionally used for storing tires, a police bicycle and hazard signs, until agents could return and transport the crop to be destroyed.
Peck said in the past, other law enforcement agencies have used the garage in Farmington for temporary storage of evidence.
MDEA agents worked until 10:30 p.m. Tuesday unloading the pot plants that were transported from Phillips and the Weld area. On a visit to the garage at 9:30 a.m. Wednesday, Ed Hastings, an investigator with the state’s Fire Marshal’s Office, and Chief Peck discovered one door had been pried open and they could see some pot plants inside but not nearly the 1,000 plants that were supposed to be in there.
“I called MDEA and said, ‘you’re never going to believe this but your marijuana plants were stolen,'” Peck said. A state police trooper and his trained dog were called to the scene to try and track which way the thief went with the plants, but it had rained overnight and the scent apparently ended at High Street.
Since the stolen pot is now Peck’s case, he and his officers have canvassed the neighborhood asking if anyone saw anything.
“We have no witnesses or suspects,” he said at this point.
The garage is in a very visible area where lots of traffic pass within 20 feet of the garage, Peck noted. If agents were unloading marijuana throughout the day, chances are someone saw it.
In the meantime, all of the items stored in the garage have been removed until a new door and alarm can be installed. “We won’t be storing any more evidence in there,” he said.
Police are asking for help that if anyone saw anything suspicious between 10:30 Tuesday and 9:30 a.m. Wednesday to please call 778-6311.