Marijuana cultivator helps put burglary suspect behind bars
The owner of a marijuana cultivation business took things into his own hands to help track down a suspect.
Travis Jones owns Parallel 64, which was burglarized early Saturday morning.
Jones said the thieves were gone by the time he arrived, but their movements were caught on tape. He said they showed up a little after 1 a.m. and spent nearly two hours trying to break in. They finally succeeded by cutting a hole in the wall of the double-plated metal building.
Jones has security video showing the men ripping immature marijuana plants up by the roots. It took them less than five minutes to get what they wanted and speed away. Jones called police as soon as he realized what had happened; he says they arrived and checked it out.
But, then Jones went a step further. He turned to social media and posted a picture of a vehicle and several people who'd been casing his business in the days before the burglary. He says by Saturday afternoon, he had a name of one of the suspects and a tip about where his vehicle could be found.
The silver Chevy Trailblazer was parked at the Coast International Inn. Jones drove there, spotted it and called police.
"They did come down and apprehend the suspect in the hotel room with what appeared to be freshly cut marijuana," said Jones.
Police arrested 39-year-old Nicholas Philemonoff. He'd been out on bail from a previous charge of stealing a vehicle. Several other suspects in the case are still on the loose.
Jones said he didn't mind playing detective to try and catch a suspect and get his marijuana back. He says he did it in support of the legal industry and didn't want his product to end up on the street.
"Because we've gone through so much to be legal and to get the license on the wall and do things properly to regulatory compliance. It's important that doesn't happen. We are trying to get rid of the black market-- that's what we are trying to do."
But, he worries that marijuana businesses keep getting hit. This is the third one that's been robbed or burglarized in Anchorage in a little over a month.
Jones said the fact that the Municipality and State have both made security details on marijuana businesses public on their websites has made the industry more vulnerable.
Both the State and Municipality say they are in the process of removing sensitive details, but by Wednesday, some of that information was still online.
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