Three people were caught on surveillance before stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of merchandise from a marijuana dispensary in Ramona on Saturday.
The San Diego Sheriff’s Department confirmed deputies were investigating a break-in at Releaf Meds, a legal dispensary on Pine Street in Ramona.
Clarice and Tony Cioe own and operate Releaf Meds together. In fact, they just celebrated the store’s one year anniversary on Dec. 7.
“It’s real personal to us. Our life savings has gone into this,” Clarice Cioe said. “We really are a medical facility, we really are here to help people. Our patients are cancer patients, we’ve got people with Parkinson’s, PTSD, you name it."
The suspects tore through doors with a pry bar and smashed windows after arriving at the store around 4:48 a.m. on Saturday, Clarice Cioe said. Surveillance cameras only caught their arrival in what appeared to be a dark-colored Kia sedan because the suspects cut power to the building.
But the Cioes did not discover the store had been burglarized until a security guard arrived and found the doors wide open.
Once inside, the suspects were able to pry open the door to the main office where the safes are kept. They tried and failed to open the money safe, but rendered the safe unopenable in the process, Clarice Cioe said.
Out on the floor, the suspects took marijuana flower buds, oils, cartridges, vape batteries and more, she said.
“They took the good stuff, the more expensive stuff,” she said. “They’ve probably been in here.”
The Cioes said the suspects also stole a money counting machine, a register, iPads and tried to break into the ATM machine, though they were unable to get any cash from it.
The stolen products equaled about $300,000 in market value, not including equipment like the iPads, and they are struggling to find a way to restock, they said. They were also worried about how customers and patients would cope without treatment while the store is closed.
“This takes a big chunk out of our pocketbook for sure. It hurts,” Clarice Cioe said.
The Cioes hope to reopen the store on Thursday and are offering a $5,000 reward for information leading to the group’s arrest.