Georgetown pot shop the latest target of early-morning crash-and-grab in Seattle

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Another morning, another pot shop burglary in western Washington.

Police are investigating after three suspects backed a pickup truck through the entrance of The Reef Cannabis Dispensary in Georgetown, near South Seattle College’s campus in the neighborhood, shortly after 4 a.m. Wednesday morning. A KOMO News crew on the scene saw the red pickup truck left by suspects.

Police said the suspects stole products from the store before fleeing in two vehicles that were outside. Police added that the pickup was “unreported stolen” at the time of the incident.

ALSO SEE | SODO pot shop targeted by crash-and-grab burglars for 2nd time in 5 months

The store was being boarded up shortly before 6 a.m. and the pickup truck was towed shortly after.

The growing trend

A crash-and-grab burglary in SODO took place nearly 24 hours earlier. Five suspects used a vehicle to break into Cannazone, located on First Avenue South, early Tuesday morning, stealing about $15,000 worth of products and causing about $45,000 in property damage, according to the store’s owner.

“This is the sixth time we’ve been hit (at all western Washington locations),” Owner Julieth Jreige said Tuesday morning. “Many drive-ins. Sometimes they just break a window, sometimes they steal a car and break in with a Kia. It’s getting frustrating. I’m getting tired of it.

“It’s between 3:30 and 4 o’clock (a.m.) every single time. So when I get a call at that time, I know my store’s getting broken into.”

At an event in the Central District neighborhood aimed to help small businesses, KOMO News asked Mayor Bruce Harrell about the latest break-in and shared Jreige’s frustration. “It upsets me when they are having some of these public safety issues. We will be their partner to try to help them grow, and we want them to stay in Seattle.

The mayor called it a broken system and insists the place to start is with changes at the federal level to safe banking regulations.

“When you keep large amounts of cash and the banking regulations are not flexible to allow you to remove the cash, problems occur,” Harrell said. “I’ve repeatedly called on our federal government when looking at safe banking regulations that need to be changed. These places have large amounts of cash, which is dangerous.”

The mayor also pointed to a fund set up by the city to help small businesses hit by vandals and thieves — that helps to pay for broken windows and other damages.

“If you look at the programs we are implementing under my admin are supporting small businesses,” Harrell said, “we have to do everything possible to help them succeed.”

“I don’t want to leave this industry because I love it so much,” said Jreige’s son, Fouad, who co-owns Cannazone with his parents. “I just wish it wasn’t being taken advantage of so badly.”

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